B-MEG import Marqus Blakely shot just 3-of-15 from the free throw line in the Llamados 96-88 victory over Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, but Llamados coach Tim Cone didn’t mind.
“Sean Chambers wasn’t a great free throw shooter, either,” said Cone, who pointed out that Blakely’s career averages from the foul line indicated that he was better than his performance in the game.
“He just got into a bad rhythm.”
But less-than-stellar free throw shooting isn’t the only thing that reminds Cone of Chambers, his resident import at Alaska, where they won a total of six titles together.
With Blakely’s toughness, athleticism, and rugged defensive edge, Cone likened him to Chambers and another former import, Rosell Ellis, with whom the coach won a championship in the 2007 Fiesta Conference, a title run chronicled in Pacific Rims, the seminal book about Philippine basketball.
“He’s like a cross between those two,” said Cone of Blakely. Like Chambers and Ellis, Blakely wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, but he did just about everything else on the court. Although he scored just 13 points, Blakely had 17 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks, including the highlight of the night which saw him stop a dunk attempt by Ginebra import Cedric Bozeman.
“He’s got so much energy, I feel like I could play him for 56 minutes, not just 48 minutes,” said Cone.
He’s already salivating at the idea of having Blakely play alongside Marc Pingris, the Llamados’ defensive frontcourt demon, who is expected to return for the team’s next game against Barako Bull on June 1.
But because Pingris isn’t a top-flight offensive player either, playing the duo together can come at a price.
“I’m gonna have to figure things out for them. That’s what I’ve been doing with Ping,” said Cone.
Still, the coach couldn’t wait to see Blakely and Pingris wreak havoc on defense together.
“Oh, it’s going to be crazy!”
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