PUREFOODS Star drew big games from import Marqus Blakely and super subs led by Justin Melton to roll past Blackwater Elite, 98-86, and grab a share of the lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Marqus Blakely scored 23 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had four assists and three steals as he kept the Hotshots perfect with a 3-0 (win-loss) slate before handing over import duties to Daniel Orton.
Hotshots coach Tim Cone said Blakely will be leaving for the United States soon to have his injured left shoulder evaluated further.
“It (win) puts Daniel in a good place coming in, having a 3-0 cushion. Hopefully, he can come in and keep us going because Marqus has a shoulder issue that needs to be taken cared of,” said Cone.
“He might have that taken cared off in the US, so he’ll have to leave soon so he can come back and be ready for the third conference.”
Although one doctor already recommended the energetic 6-4 import to undergo surgery, Cone said he’s hopeful Blakely won’t go under the knife.
Outside Blakely, Purefoods Star got a big lift from its bench players, drawing big games also from guards Mark Barroca, Allein Maliksi and Melton to extend Blackwater’s winless campaign in its maiden season to 14.
Barroca came off the bench and scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and issued four assists while Melton had 12 including the two best highlight dunks of the night.
Melton, Barroca, and Maliksi were all on the floor - and starters including Blakely were resting on the bench - when the Hotshots made the decisive breakaway that took the life out of the Elite.
The 5-9 Melton also had four steals, two assists and two rebounds in 20 minutes to win Player of the Game honors.
The Elite fell to 0-3 this conference and fell just one loss from tying Shopinas for the longest losing streak in a season. Shopinas went 0-14 in the 2012 Philippine Cup.
Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Marcus Douthit flirted with a triple-double as he tried to keep Blackwater afloat, finishing with 30 points, 11 rebunds and eight assists.
Bryan Faundo scored 14 while rookie Brian Heruela added 10.
Purefoods 98 - Blakely 23, Pingris 14, Barroca 13, Melton 12, Maliksi 12, Yap 9, Devance 7, Mallari 4, Taha 2, Reavis 2, Simon 0, Alvarez 0, Gaco 0, Allado 0, Pennisi 0.
Blackwater 86 - Douthit 30, Faundo 14, Heruela 10, Gamalinda 9, Laure 6, Canada 5, Acuna 5, Bulawan 4, Celiz 3, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0, Nuyles 0, Erram 0, Ballesteros 0, Austria 0.
Quarterscores: 23-23, 52-44, 74-63, 98-86