When Curtis Kelly came out of the dressing room on Wednesday evening, he was stoic, to say the least. There was a feeling that he knew that this was his last game in the PBA.
Days prior to the Magnolia’s tilt against the Blackwater Elite, rumors had surfaced that the Bronx, New York-born reinforcement is on the outs for the Hotshots. In fact, a replacement has been named in Justin Jackson, though no one from the Magnolia camp has confirmed it.
But the clamor for a change is understandable.
After struggling at the foul stripe during Magnolia’s 96-99 overtime loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the 6-foot-10 big man was scrambling to stay on the floor against Blackwater. He was plagued with fouls all throughout, finishing with just 12 points and nine rebounds while being forced to commit six turnovers. Magnolia lost, 84-86.
And he knew that this outing would be his death sentence.
“I would think it’s too early to give a decision right away but as far as I know, that pretty much is my deciding game,” admittedKelly, who posted norms of 15.5 points on 14-of-31 shooting, 12.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, and 5.5 turnovers.
“With the loss, I won’t be surprised what the outcome is.”
Despite this, he is thankful for the opportunity given to him by the Hotshots.
“My experience went pleasant. I enjoyed playing for a family. The team I played for prior to coming here in France wasn’t nothing like this as far as management and players. Here it’s more like family – they took care of me, they looked out for me,” he confessed.
“I appreciate everything they did for me. Like I said I don’t know what the decision is, I don’t know what gonna go on, but I’m extremely thankful and I’m blessed to be here,” he added.
“I came from an eight-month season, came out here and tried to make the best out of the opportunity to provide more for my familiy. I play hard, you know. You can tell that I play as hard as I can,” Kelly reflected.
“Offensively I wasn’t in a rhythm, free throws were bad. But I think everything else is great. Three steals, two blocks, defensively I think I was phenomenal defensively. It’s just the offense that I struggled a little bit.”
With fond memories of his time here, Kelly is will not be closing his doors if he gets another invite to be a guest player.
“If I’m given the chance to come back I wanna show everything I showed in the first game just minus the troubles at the free throw line,” he quipped.