MARQUS Blakely may be the shortest import in the current PBA Commissioner’s Cup, but the Purefoods reinforcement said he just won’t allow himself to get pushed over by other imports bigger than him.
And he exactly showed that Friday night as he nearly had a triple-double in the Hotshots’ 83-70 victory over Globalport at the Astrodome.
Blakely had 26 points, 19 rebounds, and seven blocks in the team’s debut game in the mid-season conference.
“I guess you could say that (motivation to play against bigger imports). But at the same time, it’s about winning because you’re gonna do everything to win whether it’s a 6-foot-9, 6-foot-5 or unlimited height kind of conference,” said Blakely, who was named Best Player of the game.
His huge debut in a conference that has a minimum height of 6-foot-9 among import, easily overshadowed Globalport counterpart CJ Leslie, who despite failing to practice the past two days due to food poisoning, managed to score 25 points and eight rebounds in 38 minutes of play.
Coming into the game, Blakely was expected to carry much of the load both offensively and defensively as the Hotshots played without some of their key players.
Shooting guard Peter June Simon was out due to a back spasm, forward Marc Pingris played through with a bad back, while youthful slotman Yousef Taha served the first of his two-game suspension for punching Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson in a tune-up game last week.
It didn’t help that Blakely dislocated his left shoulder midway in the second period while trying to go for the ball against Leslie.
The 6-foot-4 former Vermon standout manage to pop his left shoulder back, had the team physiotherapists apply kinesio tape around it, before returning to action in the second half.
“I don’t feel it (pain) too much now, but I know I’ll feel it tomorrow. But it’s something that I have to work with the training staff to get better and be ready for the next game,” he added.
Purefoods physical therapist Arcee Cua said Blakely is expected to undergo MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) on his left shoulder to see the seriousness of the injury, possibly at St. Luke’s Medical Center in E. Rodiguez, Quezon City.