MARQUS Blakely believes Star put itself in a favorable position in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs where the two-time defending champion set up a meeting with fourth seed GlobalPort.
The Batang Pier may have a twice-to-beat advantage, but the Hotshots import would rather face them than the other high-seeded teams in Alaska, San Miguel Beer, and Rain or Shine.
“If you had to pick out of the four (twice-to-beat) teams, who would you pick?” Blakely asked, then answered his own question.
“I would play GlobalPort.”
“They’re very talented. I don’t want to say they’re not, but they can be beaten,” the former Best Import added. “I think matchup-wise, we’ll be a little bit better.”
That will be known in their matchup on Friday at 4:15 p.m.
GlobalPort nipped the Hotshots in the eliminations, a 91-89 decision early in the season-ending conference. But as their moniker suggests, the Batang Pier are young and lack playoff experience, having finished no higher than fifth in their young history.
“Mga bata yan, so takbuhan, pero wala pa silang experience,” Marc Pingris said. “Kami andun na, pero kailangan i-maintain yung laro at 'wag mag-collapse late sa game. Kaya dapat focus lang.”
“We can’t relax, but at the same time, it’s a good setup for us,” Blakely added.
After all, the Hotshots seem to be peaking at the right time, having won three straight and five of their last six games, the latest an 87-82 win over Blackwater in their last game of the elimination round last Tuesday.
“It’s always better to be playing your best basketball at the end of the conference,” Blakely said.
And it’s their vast experience that will spell the biggest difference.
“We have a lot of veterans in our team,” the 26-year-old Blakely said. “When that third and fourth quarter comes around and we need to execute and play defense, I think that’s when our veteran leadership will come.”