THE long conference break and the return of import Marcus Blakely for the PBA Governors Cup are good enough reasons for San Mig Coffee to be condient of ending the season with a bang.
Coach Tim Cone is thrilled about the Mixers' coming reunion with the same import who led the team to within a win of the championship in the season-ending conference a year ago.
The 6-foot-5 Blakely is coming off a stint in Germany.
“He’s now back in the US to rest for about a month, but he should be able to join us when we start practice in July. Marcus is a disciplined player so he’ll easily get in game shape,” said the multi-titled coach.
Cone and the Mixers are also taking advantage of the three-month conference break to recharge their banged-up bodies after making the semifinals of the last four conferences – including a championship in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup.
“I think it’s a really good time for some of my guys who are in their early 30s to get some rest. In fact, I keep saying that I think we’re the only league in the world which plays 11 months in a year,” Cone shared to Spin.ph.
“So this is my longest break so far in my 23 years of coaching (in the PBA),” he added smiling.
The Mixers failed to defend their Commissioner’s Cup title recently, bowing to eventual champion Alaska Aces in their best-of-five semifinal series.
San Mig resident star James Yap, sophomore guard Mark Barroca, and Fil-Am Joe Devance have had injury issues during the course of their title defense, a factor that somehow contributed to the team’s slow start.
The 31-year-old Yap never really got on track for the most part of the campaign as he struggled late in the eliminations and throughout the playoffs due to a bad back, eventually forcing him to sit out the all-important Game Four of the Mixers’ semis against the Aces.
Barroca, meantime, suffered body, knee, and at times, ankle issues, while Devance, who also turned 31 last February, hurt his knee during the middle part of the eliminations.