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    Webb keeps faith in Blakely, but challenges import to level up to tougher opposition

    Jul 31, 2016
    Marqus Blakely had 15 points and 21 rebounds to go with 10 turnovers. Jaime Campos

    STAR coach Jason Webb is hoping for consistency from Marqus Blakely as the Hotshots’ failed to get on a winning streak in the PBA Governors’ Cup following a 109-100 loss to San Miguel Beer on Sunday.

    Blakely had a slow start, contributed just two points in the first quarter and six more in the next two periods, before scoring seven in the final frame to complete his 15-point performance that did go along with 21 rebounds, two blocks, two steals, although he committed 10 turnovers and five fouls in 42 minutes.

    “He got a triple-double, but we were hoping na hindi turnover yung (isang double),” Webb said with a smile. “He still got twenty-one rebounds, but I think he was the same as last game: he didn’t really come out strong tapos second half was much better, so we need forty-eight minutes. I play him forty or so, so we need forty minutes of that.”

    [See Tubid shrugs off elbow incident with pal James Yap]

    Webb explained that the skill level of PBA imports is catching up with that of Blakely, a former Best Import who’s in his fifth tour of duty with the Hotshots.

    “The imports and the teams are just too good right now,” Webb said. “Remember, Marqus Blakely was the benchmark (a few) years ago. Other teams, they’re telling their agents: ‘I want a guy better than Marqus Blakely.’”

    Webb, though, stressed that the thought of replacing Blakely is still far from his mind.

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    “This is a team. Unless there is a circumstance where we can say that this is the reason that we’re losing, first, we have to look at ourselves — coaches, other players — and we’ll decide from there,” the rookie coach said.

    “Faith will always be there in our players from our first guy to the last guy and we’re just hoping that guys will come up and play their best,” he added. “As long as they’re trying, then we’ll be on their corner.”

    But Webb is challenging the 27-year-old Blakely to adapt to the times.

    “Now on our end, we’re hoping that Marqus is able to become a better player because yung mga kalaban namin, kumukuha sila ng mas magaling sa kanya o kay AZ (Reid),” the Star coach said.

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    Marqus Blakely had 15 points and 21 rebounds to go with 10 turnovers. Jaime Campos
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