ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Blackwater ached for a win in the PBA Governors' Cup and Marqus Blakely delivered.
Blakely flirted with a rare quadruple-double after churning out 13 points, 14 rebounds, 8 blocks, and 7 assists as Blackwater finally cracked the winning column with a 107-98 triumph over NorthPort on Saturday, October 5.
"That's the old Blakely we know – protecting the rim, hustling, defending, giving assists. He's like Mr All-Around," Blackwater head coach Aris Dimaunahan told reporters in a mix of Filipino and English.
Tapped by Blackwater as a replacement for the injured Aaron Fuller, Blakely barely looked like a former Best Import of the Conference winner in his debut with the team after putting up only 4 points in a 28-point loss to TNT.
But it did not take long for Blakely to redeem himself.
The American reinforcement bounced back in the next game with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks, and 4 steals, although in a six-point loss to NLEX, before helping Blackwater nail its first win with his stellar numbers.
"We thank Blakely for playing back-to-back games that were completely different from his first game," Dimaunahan said.
For Blakely, it was all about finding his niche with a young team like Blackwater.
"I think I'm just a little bit more comfortable in the system, knowing what my teammates need out of me," said Blakely, who won two Governors' Cup titles with Magnolia and also suited up for TNT.
"With Magnolia and with TNT, we had more veteran leadership so it's easier to mesh. With Magnolia, I was coming back each year so we just kept on building."
"It was kind of like a new start coming here, figuring out everyone else's likes."
Although Blakely is slowly immersing himself with Blackwater, Dimaunahan said they are not certain whether the 30-year-old will remain as their import moving forward.
"We still haven't talked about it. After this game, we will assess again what we'll do regarding our import," Dimaunahan said.
Blackwater shoots for back-to-back wins when it tangles with Columbian on Friday, October 11, at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.