SAN Mig just survived a tough five-game-semifinal series and import Marcus Blakely sees an even tougher finals.
The Mixers are three wins away from completing a sweep of the three conferences this season after beating rival Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters.
Now, the Mixers wait for the winner of the other semifinal between Alaska and Rain or Shine on Saturday at the Big Dome.
Blakely said both the Aces and Elasto Painters are equally difficult opponents come the Finals.
“You could talk about the history, but either way it will be a tough match-up,” Blakely said.
The San Mig import mentioned Alaska as having a lot of determination to win the championship, having been the last team to win the Grand Slam in 1996 under coach Tim Cone, who’s now calling the shots for the Mixers.
Blakely also sees a difficult potential Finals match-up against Rain or Shine, the same team that beat San Mig, then B-Meg, in the 2012 Governors’ Cup title series.
“I heard Alaska was the last team to win a Grand Slam. They will have a lot of energy to try to beat us. Rain or Shine, same thing,” said Blakely.
Blakely, who’s a strong contender for the Best Import award, said winning three straight championship is not a guarantee the Mixers will be the favorites in the Finals.
“I guess that is something that is on the back of our mind. From the time the conference started, everybody talked about Grand Slam, Grand Slam. There were a lot of preparations that went to it that got us to this point,” said Blakely.
“Now, it’s 50-50. Best team wins. Five-game series, it’s important to come out with the first win.”
Blakely had an interesting match-up with Talk 'N Text counterpart Paul Harris in Game Five. Blakely scored 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Mixers, while Harris had to carry much of the load for his team by finishing with 40 points.
One memorable sequence came in the fourth when Harris tried to go for a slam when, out of nowhere, Blakely blocked the dunk attempt.
Unfortunately, Blakely was called for a foul, with Harris repeatedly shouting the word `Foul!’ for everybody to hear.
But Harris missed both free throws, which proved to be the Tropang Texters’ waterloo during the game as they finished with just 6-of-17 shooting from the line.
“I expected a lot of high-energy, physical, and passion for the game because we knew what is at stake,” said Blakely on his match-up with Harris. “Just like any competitive sport, once you come to the court, it’s your team versus my team.”