FAILURE to defend its PBA Governors Cup title should only motivate Star Hotshots to get better and start winning again come next season.
Import Marqus Blakely admitted the semifinal loss to Alaska that ended the team’s season should be a learning experience for the proud franchise, which has been just a year removed from winning a grand slam.
The Hotshots were swept by the Aces Sunday night after losing Game Three of the best-of-five semis series, 82-77.
“As a team we have to take a step back and think about it, remember how bad this conference is and what we needed to do and what we didn’t do,” said Blakely, who finished with 15 points (7-of-18 from the field), seven rebounds, six assists, and four block shots in his final game with the Hotshots.
“We just have to get back to square one and started playing again, get back to where we came from.”
This marked the first time in four seasons he played for Star that Blakely won’t be in the finals of the season-ending conference, an experience he found rather surprising.
“I guess it was unusual,” said Blakely, a two-time Governors Cup import after steering the team to the championship in 2013 and 2014. “But at the same time, it’s something we need to happen.”
But the former Vermont stalwart out of New Jersey is not taking anything away from the top-seeded Aces.
“Alaska is a great team. They defend very well and play as a team,” said Blakely of the Aces. “It’s hard to stop Alaska’s momentum when they’re the No. 1 team all year and have the confidence of shooting well.”
Despite the early exit of the proud franchise, Blakely still feels the Hotshots were able to give a good account of themselves in trying to defend the last jewel of their grand slam feat.
Star had a slow start to the conference, but was able to gather momentum going to the homestretch of the eliminations to finish as the No. 5 seeded team heading to the playoffs.
“We gave ourselves a chance to make the playoffs and beat (No. 4) Globalport twice. We just flattened out, I guess,” he said.
Hopefully, Blakely said he’ll have another shot at winning a title with Star next season if the Hotshots would still want his service.
“Anytime they need me, I’ll be back,” he said. “There’s be another conference, there’ll be another championship, so we just have to keep on going.”