With the veteran reinforcement parading once again for his former team, Marqus Blakely led his Purefoods squad to an 83-70 win over the GlobalPort Batang Pier at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Blakely posted a full stat line with his 26 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a whopping seven rejections in the ballgame. Mark Barroca chipped in 11 and was one rebound away from a double-double.
In the main game of the conference’s first PBA Friday, the fans got treated to an early showcase of rejections between the two imports. Blakely swatted a driving layup shot by CJ Leslie then on the ensuing possession, Leslie denied Blakely’s floater attempt. The Batang Pier jumped to an early 9-3 lead which was capped by Leslie’s one-handed slam.
The Star Hotshots rallied to tie the match with their zone defense working wonders during the first canto. Joe Devance swished in a jumper to tie things up for the first time at 14. Purefoods settled for tightly defending Leslie from the perimeter to clog GlobalPort’s offense as the Star Hotshots ended the opening frame with a slim one-point lead, 21-20.
The offense was stagnant for both teams to start the second period as the two teams combined for five points in the first four minutes. After a timeout, Blakely started to hit buckets to give Purefoods a five-point cushion at 28-23. With their transition offense working, Purefoods unleashed a fast-paced rally to scatter 11 unanswered points led by James Yap’s baskets and offensive rebounding by Blakely and Marc Pingris.
Anthony Semerad and Denok Miranda both made a triple to stop the bleeding for GlobalPort, tying the match once again. Unfortunately for the Batang Pier, the Star Hotshots gathered another 7-0 run including a breakaway slam by Blakely to head into halftime on top, 41-36.
Jumpers started to find their mark for GlobalPort as they managed to go on a 6-0 run that allowed them to take the lead. This triggered the comeback for Purefoods as they blasted a 16-0 rampage led by Blakely’s inside hits and blocking on the defensive end. Barroca also played stellar in reading the passing lanes as GlobalPort was forced to multiple turnovers.
Purefoods, which hit the floor for the first time in seven weeks after missing action, continued their hot shooting in the fourth with the bench duo of Justin Melton and Alex Mallari opening up the last quarter with nine points. Blakely was called for a flagrant foul at the 8:08 mark of the payoff period that enabled the Batang Pier to trim the lead to ten.
The re-entry of Blakely, however, prevented GlobalPort from establishing any rallies and the game was sealed with a thunderous alley-oop by Barroca to the import en route to their first victory.
Purefoods’ next assignment will be last conference’s bridesmaid finishers, the Alaska Aces on Tuesday, 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, GlobalPort will face Rain or Shine one week later, 4:15pm at the same venue.
Quarter scores: 21-20, 41-36, 57-46, 83-70