PUREFOODS Star begins its quest for redemption in the PBA Governors Cup when it faces NLEX at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, hopeful of putting its letdowns in the first two conferences of the season behind it.
While the Hotshots will be gunning for a third successive championship in the season-ending conference, they will also be out to preserve their hold of the only title remaining from a grand slam last season.
Purefoods import Marqus Blakely will be back for his fifth tour of duty with the Hotshots, who will be looking to him to bring back the energy and defensive spunk the team seemed to have lost.
Blakely admitted that as a team, Purefoods Star will just have to learn from its past two playoff debacles in order to come out stronger in the season-ending conference.
“It’s going back to learning from your mistakes,” said Blakely, the 2013 PBA Governors Cup Best Import. "We need to get back to trusting each other, trust one another on offense and defense."
Game time is at 5:15 p.m.
The 6-foot-4 Blakely served as the Hotshots’ stand-in import during the Commissioner’s Cup, leading the team to a 3-0 start, before giving way to Daniel Orton.
However, Orton lasted just three games, paving the way for the return of old reliable Denzel Bowles who could not keep Purefods Star from suffering a 3-1 semifinal series loss to eventual Commissioner’s Cup champion Talk ‘N Text.
Like the rest in the team, Blakely is looking to see the Purefoods of old.
“Just being more efficient in our shot selection and being more efficient on the floor I think on defense. We’ll always gonna work on defense because that’s our staple then, being more comfortable running the offense,” added Blakely, who averaged 22.0 points, 14.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals in his brief stint in the Commissioner's Cup.
NLEX’s Syrian gunner Michel Madanly is a game-time decision due to neck spam, which he got after colliding with Dylan Ababou during the Road Warriors’ 101-96 loss to Barako Bull.
The 6-foot-3 Madanly debuted with 26 points, but failed to return in the final quarter after the collision.
American import Kwame Alaxander hopes to have a better showing after struggling during his debut outing with NLEX, where he finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds while making just six of 16 shots overall.
“We just have to forget that loss (to Barako Bull), learn from what happened and look forward to the game against Purefoods,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.