JUST like in the two-game quarterfinals against Alaska, San Mig import Marqus Blakely expects the Meralco Bolts to do the 'Hack-a-Marq' when the two teams start their PBA Governors Cup semifinal series on Sunday.
Free throw shooting has been the energetic import’s weakness throughout this conference, but Blakely no longer frets about it now after getting some words of encouragement from Mixers coach Tim Cone who cited NBA great Shaquille O’Neal as an example to fire up his import.
“Coach made a great analogy. Shaquille O’Neal, he won a lot of (NBA) championships and he wasn’t a great foul shooter. But down the stretch, they don’t take him out of the game because he’s such a big threat on the rebounding and scoring in the post,” said Blakely.
Taking Cone's words to heart, the 24-year-old Blakely, who is only making 41.4 percent of his free throws this conference, has vowed to contribute in other facets of the game to cover up for his weakness.
“You see how many fouls shots I missed and you could see how many I made, but the little things would go unnoticed,” he said.
“The hustle plays, diving for loose balls, extra possessions, boxing out, those things win championships. Now, we’re still here in the semis. It’s zero-zero, anybody can win it (title).”
Nonetheless, the athletic San Mig import said he won’t mind going to the line again in the semifinal series should the Bolts pounce on his Achilles heel.
“That’s (free throws) something I’ve been working on the whole season so if they’ll send me on the line, I’ll gladly shoot them,” said Blakely, who averages 26.5 points, 16.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.7 blocks this conference.