Due to his vast experience in the PBA that saw him win a Best Import award and a pair of championships, the hype surrounding Marqus Blakely’s arrival to the TNT KaTropa this 2018 Governors’ Cup has definitely rocketed.
The 29-year-old, whose success in the Filipino pro league came with the Purefoods franchise, is greatly expected to boost a KaTropa side that has been struggling in the season-ending conference with a 2-4 record.
But for TNT interim head coach Eric Gonzales, Blakely shouldn’t be seen as the one that will save them.
“Ang una kong sinabi sa team, he’s not our savior.
“He will just help us, so we must help him, too, be effective. So yun ang bottomline,” said Gonzales after TNT’s first practice with Blakely, Tuesday at the Moro Lorenzo Gym in Ateneo.
“With him he’s used to the PBA already. That’s one thing very encouraging. But more so, the eighty-percent of the bulk of the effectiveness of Marqus Blakely depends on the locals, not on him alone,” furthered the seasoned mentor.
Blakely is coming in as the KaTropa’s third import already this conference. He is taking the place of former Pepperdine standout Stacy Davis, who found it hard to acclimatize with the Texters even if he played four games with them.
This now the second major change within the Texters this conference, as Blakely’s signing comes in the wake of head coach Nash Racela’s leave from the team – Racela might not be coming back any time soon, though.
It would be safe to assume that TNT’s struggles could be pinned to the shake-ups happening within the team. But Gonzales thinks otherwise.
“It’s all about playing together as a team and helping each other out. It’s all about us having the initiative individually to really reach out kasi we started very flat,” he said.
“It’s not the coach. It’s really us. It’s not the import. It’s really us.”
Still, Blakely’s addition to the flagship MVP franchise brings lots of positives. And for Gonzales, he hopes that the American big man would be able to lead the KaTropa, who’s keen on turning their fortunes around this conference.
“He’s a catalyst to the team,” Gonzales pointed out.
“Hindi naman siya offensive-minded guy eh. [Pero] Ang maganda sa kanya, he’s very natural in encouraging his teammates, so I’m hoping that it will rub out with the team.”