Purefoods pinning hopes on Blakely as it defends only jewel left in grand slam season
Marqus Blakely has been in the country for weeks now, joining Purefoods in practices while rehabbing an injured shoulder. Jaime Campos

VETERANS Peter June Simon and Mark Barroca vow to go all out in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup when Purefoods defends the only remaining jewel from its grand slam season.

The two believes the franchise is poised for a strong bounce back after failing to retain its Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup crowns earlier this year.

“Siyempre, target kami lahat ng teams eh,” Simon admitted, days after their 3-1 debacle at the hands of Talk ‘N Text in their best-of-five semifinal series.

“Sobrang bigyan mo din ng credit ang Talk ‘N Text kasi sobrang ganda ng nilalaro nila,” he added.

The Hotshots held a brief meeting with the Purefoods coaching staff led by Tim Cone on Sunday to talk about their failed campaign, which saw import Denzel Bowles limited to a personal conference-low 14 points by the Tropang Texters’ swarming defense during the series-clinching Game Four win last Saturday.

Cone has given the Hotshots a weeklong break before resuming practice next week as they prepare for season’s final conference which kicks off on May 5.

Simon said the return of old import Marqus Blakely gives Purefoods confidence of winning a third successive Governors Cup championship since the former Vermont standout has a deep understanding of Cone’s triangle offense.

“Malaking bagay si Blakely kasi unang una, alam na niya ang triangle,” he said. “Sobrang hard working nung taong 'yun and excited na kami makasama uli siya.”

Barroca couldn’t help but agree with Simon, saying the 6-foot-4 Blakely is a ‘cerebral player.’

“Wala ng problema kay Blakely. Siya ang best import namin. Matalino talaga maglaro, saka mabilis mag-adjust sa triangle,” said Barroca.

The point guard out of Far Eastern University explained Blakely is in superb condition because the athletic American has been joining the team in practice the last two months while undergoing therapy on his left shoulder.

“Alam naman natin pag nandiyan si Marqus, takbuhan talaga kami. Kundisyon siya ngayon saka at least healthy,” he added.

Blakely, who led the Hotshots to the Governors Cup championships the last two seasons, owns career averages of 21.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 2.3 steals in 65 games in the league.

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