JAMEEL McKay may have registered better numbers than Tony Mitchell, but it was the latter who had the last laugh in the two imports' PBA debuts as Star came away with a 101-82 victory over Phoenix in their Commissioner’s Cup matchup on Wednesday night.
The Fuel Masters import stuffed the stats sheets with 34 points, 20 boards, four blocks, two steals, two assists,and just one turnover in 42 minutes, while his Hotshots counterpart tallied 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 16 rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and one steal, against six turnovers in 37 minutes.
But apart from ending up with the 'W,' Mitchell got two of his three blocks at the expense of McKay. Mitchell could’ve had a third block on Mckay had it not been called for goaltending.
“He’s an NBA-level athlete and I kind of took it for granted,” McKay said of Mitchell, who played 21 games for Detroit in the 2013-14 NBA season after being made the Pistons’ second-round pick that year.
“That’s kind of my first time playing an NBA-level athlete all year,” McKay, who last played in the National Basketball League in Australia, added.
Now, McKay, who made 16 of his 29 shots, is taking it personal against Mitchell, although he vowed to improve his accuracy and decision-making against the rest of the imports this conference.
“He got my shot a couple of times, and with that being said, I’m going to go look at it, watch film, and I probably won’t get my shot blocked like that again,” the 24-year-old cager said. “I take it real personal.
“I missed a couple of shots … and at least four or five of my missed shots will be makes from now on,” he added. “I’m just going to get back to the gym and I’ll be alright.”
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Despite McKay’s all-around performance, the Fuel Masters succumbed to a familiar tormentor in the Hotshots as the Phoenix locals failed to provide ample support.
But McKay isn't about to pass the blame.
“I'm not calling out no one out or anything, I'm saying as a team, if we hit a few more shots, then we won't be here talking about a nineteen-point loss,” McKay said. “I think it was like a six-point game and we missed a couple of good looks. If we made those, we'll be alright.
“I've been with these guys for a couple days now, and I've seen them hit those shots, so there are no worries on my end,” he added.