TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio himself confirmed that former Purefoods import Marqus Blakely will be the KaTropa’s new reinforcement in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup.
The 6-foot-5 forward, who last played for the Star Hotshots in 2016, will be replacing the underwhelming Stacy Davis. Blakely is now the Texters’ third import this conference.
“Oo. Totoo na ito,” said Villavicencio in a phone interview with members of the press.
“Dalawang taon na siya huling naglaro sa Star. So, he’s an unrestricted free agent already.”
This recent move comes as a surprise, especially for the Purefoods franchise faithful, knowing that Blakely has long been associated with them as he started with the B-Meg Llamados in 2012.
Since then until 2016, when the franchise became San Mig Coffee and then Star, Blakely became their resident import in the Governors’ Cup. He won the conference’s Best Import plum in 2013.
Blakely helped the Mixers snag back-to-back Governors’ Cup crowns in 2013 and 2014. That 2014 triumph helped San Mig win a rare Grand Slam, becoming the fifth team in PBA history to do so.
With the 29-year-old’s basketball resumè and vast experience in Asia’a first play-for-pay league, the amiable team executive said that he doesn’t see Blakely struggling in terms of adjusting.
“Hindi naman bago si Blakely sa PBA. He’s a veteran already. So I don’t think adjustment will be a problem,” he said.
Blakely is expected to debut for TNT on September 22 against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Iloilo City. So for Villavicencio, they have enough time to prepare with their new import.
“Sa 22 pa kami lalaro. So mas mahaba time ng preparation namin with Blakely,” he said. “We are hopeful that he can help us turn around this conference from a slow start.”
The Texters, who have recently put head coach Nash Racela on leave, are hard-pressed to turn their fortunes around in the season-ending tilt, as they are currently carrying a 2-4 win-loss record.