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Blankley proves Bay Area is more than just Nicholson or Powell

Hayden Blankley could not have chosen a more opportune time to play his best outing than in Bay Area’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs opener.

With much of the attention drawn on the comebacking Andrew Nicholson, the 22-year-old took the spotlight as he erupted for 47 points on 10 three-pointers to power the Dragons to a 126-96 demolition of Rain or Shine, Friday.

The 6-foot-6 winger from Sydney simply adopted the ‘next man up’ mentality as the guest team lost Myles Powell to a foot injury during practice.

“The motivation behind today’s game, guys are going down and it’s the playoffs now, so people have to step up,” Blankley said after the match at the Philsports Arena in Pasig. “I wanted to start the playoffs strong and get us going.”

Powell is undeniably Bay Area’s best player ever since with his nightly exploits, but Blankley showed again that the ball club from Hong Kong is more than just its celebrated imports — both of which boast of NBA pedigrees.

Other Dragons such as Glen Yang, Zhu Songwei, and Duncan Reid, to name a few, have already proven their worth to the squad but none outside the two reinforcements have scored the way the West Texas A&M product did.

It was easily the best showing of his young career to date — Blankley has never scored beyond 17 points, nor had he drilled more than three triples prior.

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Friday saw him do much of the damage in the second half by scoring 36 of his points, including a pair of free throws that gave his side the biggest lead of the game at 34, 85-51, with under five minutes left in the third quarter.

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But he was as important in the game’s first 24 minutes as well, scoring 11 to help Bay Area reestablish a double-digit lead after their foes came within nine. The first half ended with Brian Goorjian’s charges ahead big, 60-44.

As the final buzzer sounded, Blankley saw himself registering the third-most points scored and second-most triples made in the Dragons’ books.

Blankley was immensely thankful to his brothers for allowing him to put on one of the best shooting displays of the mid-season tournament.

“I want to give a lot of credit to my teammates. Once I hit a few, they kept telling me that they were gonna keep looking for me,” he said.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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