ANTIPOLO – The old Marqus Blakely is back in the eyes of Blackwater coach Aris Dimaunahan.
Blakely played an all-around game on Saturday in the PBA Governors’ Cup when he had 13 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, and eight blocks in the Elite’s 107-98 win over NorthPort.
“We thank Blakely for playing back-to-back games na sobrang layo doon sa first game,” said Dimaunahan.
In Blackwater’s first game of the conference against TNT, Blakely only had four points, a season-low for all the imports this season. But the former TNT and Magnolia import has since picked up his game as he had 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, four steals, and five blocks in the Elite’s loss to NLEX last Sunday.
“That’s the old Blakely that we know. Protecting the run, hustling, defending, giving assists. Para na siyang si Mr. All Around. Finally, we got a win with him and we want to thank him for leading us,” said Dimaunahan.
Blakely is actually a replacement import after original pick Aaron Fuller suffered an injury, but is now making a bid to stay permanently with the Elite.
When told about Dimaunahan’s comments, the 30-year-old Blakely said it can be attributed to knowing the team a lot better and finding out what the team needs.
“I think I’m just a little bit more comfortable with the system, knowing what my teammates need of me. The Magnolia days, Talk ‘N Text days, we had a little more veteran leadership so it was a little bit easier to mesh.
“It was kinda a new start here trying to figure out everybody else whether they like to shoot or defend, communicating with them where we can be most effective,” said Blakely.
Blakely said he is happy that the preparation against NorthPort paid off on Saturday.
“I just dedicated our week of practice. We had a very focused week, attention to detail is huge. Defensively, we played a lot better. We are very talented offensively, and we moved the ball very well. We can be a little bit better with the rebounding side. Maybe eight minutes or so we slacked off. We were up 10, they came back. But we weathered the storm.
“For a young team, it’s huge taking a hit and keep on moving. Hats off to my teammates,” said Blakely.