MARCUS Blakely is hardly unfazed by the pressure and the rigid competition of going up against imports with NBA credentials when San Mig Coffee starts its defense of the PBA Governors Cup title.
Last year’s Best Import awardee of the season-ending conference will be put to a test anew as the Mixers gun for a rare Grand Slam after winning the first two crown jewels of the league this year.
“Everybody’s gonna talk about it (grand slam) and sure it adds some pressure,” said Blakely, who came in more than a week ago and even celebrated with the Mixers when they won the Commissioner’s Cup championship just a few days ago.
Blakely averaged 23.9 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.1 steals, and 2.1 blocks last season when he steered San Mig to the Governors Cup championship via an epic seven-game series victory over Petron Blaze.
But those solid numbers will definitely be put under scrutiny with the presence of a bumper crop of imports, some of whom have vast NBA experience.
Alaska’s Bill Walker, Terrence Williams of Meralco, Talk ‘N Text’s Othyus Jeffers, and San Miguel Beer’s Reggie Williams all have prior NBA experiences, making San Mig’s road to winning the “Triple Crown” a challenging one.
But Blakely knows that as a team, the Mixers got the talent and the experience to pull it off once more this coming conference.
“We know we have what’s inside the locker room, the talent. We’ve been where we’ve been in the past. It’s just going back to the drawing board, focused back in and not be complacent and keep building from there,” added the standout from Vermont.
San Mig has won three straight titles since last season’s Governors Cup, including this year’s Philippine Cup.
Blakely said he has been out of active competition since helping the Mixers win the Governors Cup last year, but made sure he’s in shape by working out and playing pick-up games in the United States.
“I went home, was working out. There was a decision on whether to go overseas or to come back here. So I decided to come back here,” said the 25-year-old Blakely.
San Mig has taken a three-day break since clinching the Commissioner’s Cup, but will return to practice on Monday to prepare for the season-ending meet.
The Mixers open their title defense against Barako Bull Energy next Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.