MARQUS Blakely played down his benching in the fourth quarter of Star’s 103-88 loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday night.
The Hotshots import came off with still a little over two minutes gone by in the fourth quarter and never returned as he ended up with conference-lows in minutes (36) and scoring (13).
“Probably because we were down so much and coach felt like I should save my energy for Talk ‘N Text,” Blakely said, referring to the Hotshots’ next game, against the Tropang Texters next week.
The Hotshots, down by 18, 83-65, at that point, fielded an all-Filipino the rest of the way and tried to come back, but came no closer than 11 points.
Blakely, who came in averaging 23 points and 40.1 minutes in his first seven games, said he entered the game with a mindset of getting his teammates going first before taking over late.
“It’s not all about scoring,” said the former Best Import awardee, who only had four points in the first half and wound up with just seven attempts in all. “I definitely tried to get my teammates involved from the jump, knowing that third and fourth quarter will come and I’ll still be able to get my buckets.”
“But unfortunately the lead was too big at that point and we felt we needed to pack it in and get ready for the next one,” added Blakely, who finished with 10 boards, three assists, two steals, and one block, against five turnovers.
As a unit, Blakely rued the Hotshots’ failure to protect an early lead as they went up by three points after the first quarter.
“Strong teams start their games strong and finish their games strong, and defend for forty-eight minutes,” he said. “But we took spurts off, we took possessions off, and it showed.”