For Markeith Cummings, the PBA will always have a special place in his heart.
The PBA is where the 29-year-old’s pro career took flight. After graduating from Kennesaw State in Georgia, USA, he flew across the globe and landed in the heart of Southeast Asia to suit up for the then-GlobalPort Batang Pier.
Young imports usually underwhelm in their first dip into the pros, but Cummings did not. He even helped GlobalPort reach the 2013 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, only to lose at the hands of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
“I played with GlobalPort in my first year… It was pretty good,” recalled Cummings, who was a consistent provider for the Batang Pier, as he normed 28.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 10 games.
The way he played for the Batang Pier had then opened lots of opportunities for the Birmingham, Alabama native. Right after his GlobalPort stint, he was drafted by the Bakersfield Jam in the third round of the 2013 NBA D-League Draft.
Cummings stayed in the developmental league for a good two years, and after that, his career as a journeyman started. The 6-foot-4 guard-forward have seen action in various leagues, including in Poland, Egypt, and in Lebanon.
And in 2017, Cummings returned to where his career started.
Cummings came back to the PBA in the Governors’ Cup. But that time, he wasn’t wearing the black and neon green uniforms of the Batang Pier, as he had signed with the Kia Picanto as a replacement for an over-height Chane Behanan.
Cummings was able to provide what was needed from him. But even if he had averages of 27.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals in seven games, it wasn’t all enough, as the Picanto went 0-for-7.
He was replaced by Geron Johnson, but Kia finished 0-11 in the conference.
“It was a last minute type of thing. They called me because the import that they had before was too tall. They called me as a back-up plan,” Cummings remembered of that tumultuous stint he had with the often-scrutinized franchise.
Currently, Cummings is with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins of the Japan B.LEAGUE. He signed with them back in August 1, and he had played with them in the Asia League’s The Terrific 12 in Macau just last week.
Though the Diamond Dolphins finished fourth in the inaugural basketball spectacle, Cummings had still been one consistent figure, as he averaged 25.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 2.25 assists in the four games they played.
Still, it would be nice if Cummings will return to the Filipino pro league some time soon. Asked if he will be opening his doors should any PBA team come knocking, the soft-spoken Cummings said he definitely would.
“Yeah! For sure.”