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BLAKELY LEADS IMPORTS CAST IN SEASON-ENDING GOVERNORS’ CUP

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Feeling the pain of Purefoods Star’s semifinal loss in the Commissioner’s Cup, Marqus Blakely said he’ll be doubly motivated as he tries to lead the Hotshots to a “three-peat” in the coming PBA Governors Cup.

Blakely said the team’s bitter losses in the first two conferences will inspire them to work harder in a bid to hang on to the last remaining jewel they won in a grand slam run last year.

The 26-year-old Vermont U product had a hand in Purefoods’ hot 3-0 start in the Commissioner’s Cup as a stand-in import. He’s helping out as a practice player when the Hotshots, after winning the series opener, were beaten three in a row by the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in their Final Four showdown.

“(We need to) remember how we feel at this point because the next conference, we don’t want this to happen again,” said Blakely. “We’ve got to grow from it, learn from it and be better.”

Blakely is a winner of an import, having led Purefoods to back-to-back Governors Cup championships with triumphs over San Miguel Beer in 2013 and over Rain or Shine last year. In 2013, he won the Best Import award.

Purefoods will be chasing a feat rarely done in the league.

After the Crispa-Toyota era, only two teams have won three straight championships in a particular conference. Alaska Milk actually scored a four-peat in the Governors Cup from 1994-97 while Talk ‘N Text reigned supreme in the all-Filipino tourney from 2011-2013.

Blakely will be facing a tough field including 2013 Governors Cup Best Import Arizona Reid and other familiar names in Wendell McKines, Marcus Douthit and PJ Ramos.

Reid, who has warmed up playing a few games with San Miguel Beer in the second conference, makes another tour of duty with the Beermen after playing three conferences with Rain or Shine in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

McKines brings his stuff from Alaska Milk to Rain or Shine while Douthit and Ramos are among imports with no height restrictions, reinforcing Blackwater and Kia, respectively.

Among the new faces are Alaska’s Romeo Travis and Talk ‘N Text’s Steffphon Pettygrew.

Travis is a burly power forward who played with NBA superstar LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio while Pettygrew was a star teammate of Japeth Aguilar at Western Kentucky U.

Asian imports already in the deck are Jordanian Sam Daghles for Talk ‘N Text, Mongolian Sanchir Tungala for Ginebra and another Jordanian Imad Qahwash for Blackwater.

Kia is reportedly considering Taiwanese Chang Tsung-hsien while NLEX is looking at Taiwanese star Lin Chih-chieh and Korean hotshot Kim Min Goo. (SB)

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