PUREFOODS remains in a wait-and-see mode as far Marqus Blakely’s status with the team is concerned.
Although the former Best Import awardee is already in the country, Purefoods assistant coach Richard del Rosario said there is nothing certain about Blakely’s status in the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup as coach Tim Cone will only be arriving from the US on Wednesday morning.
Cone left for the US to attend the weeklong NBA D-League Showcase in Santa Cruz, California where he looked at other import options after the team's original choice, Denzel Bowles, became unavailable.
But Del Rosario admitted having Blakely around already gives the Hotshots a distinct advantage because of the import’s familiarity with the triangle offense, considering the 6-foot-4 former Vermont standout will be in his fourth tour of duty with the franchise.
“Familiarity is a big factor. Alam na namin what he (Blakely) can bring, though size-wise, may disadvantage nga because he’s the smallest import around,” Del Rosario told Spin.ph shortly after the Hotshots whipped the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, 98-87, in a tune-up match on Tuesday at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside the Ateneo campus.
Purefoods (then carrying the brand name San Mig Coffee) defeated Talk ‘N Text in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup Finals, 3-1.
Blakely, who gives up at least four inches in height to Talk ‘N Text’s returning import Richard Howell, used his athleticism and quickness to lead the Hotshots’ second-half blitz en route to scoring 28 points.
Although Blakely was impressive for the Hotshots’ first tune-up match, Del Rosario said the coaching staff will still be meeting with Cone once he arrives to discuss the team’s next step on whether Marcus will stay on or not for the mid-season conference.
“We’ll see how it goes sa first few games namin on how Marqus can really play for the team. Kung positive naman ang result, depende if we will stick with him. Pero ang importante ngayon is we keep moving forward and we find ways to win with Marqus,” explained del Rosario.