THE PBA Governors' Cup Finals does not only feature the two best teams in the season-ending conference, but also highlights the potentially explosive match-up between top imports in Elijah Millsap and Marcus Blakely.
Millsap has been one of the major reasons for Petron’s rise as the top-seeded team going to the title series, while Blakely just steered No. 2 team San Mig Coffee to a second Finals stint in this same conference where the Mixers finished runner-up to Rain or Shine Elasto Painters last year.
Both imports admitted having known each other from way back and have nothing but respect for each other's games.
“We played each other before in the US, so we’re pretty familiar with each other,” said Blakely. “I like the match-up.”
Millsap said he’s been good friends with Blakely off the court and holds the shot-blocking import in high esteem.
“I got a lot of respect for Marcus’ game. He does everything for his team, so you just can’t underestimate this guy,” said the high-flying Petron import.
The two are expected to fight for the Best Import award to be given prior to Game Two of the Finals on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
But in their lone head-to-head match-up in the tournament, Millsap got the better end of Blakely as the Boosters beat the Mixers, 89-83.
Millsap exploded for 31 points, had 16 rebounds, six assists, and six steals, while Blakely poured in 25 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, and five block shots.
“He’s tough to guard,” Blakely said about the younger brother of NBA player Paul Millsap. “A lot of shooters around him allow him to elevate his game. It’s going to be a great match-up.”
Although he managed to put one over Blakely in the eliminations, Millsap said the Finals is a different setting altogether.
“I’ve got to focus and pay attention to details against him,” said the 24-year-old import, who anchored Petron’s 12-game winning streak this conference.
“I’ve just got to be ready for the challenge, just got to be ready for him.”