HE may be the shortest import in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, but Purefoods Star’s Marqus Blakely said he up to the challenge of going up against bigger reinforcements in the midseason conference beginning on January 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Blakely, listed at 6 feet 4 inches, will be giving up at least five inches in height against opposing imports in the second conference as the Hotshots decided to bring him back as a standby import after failing to land original prospects Denzel Bowles and Diamon Simpson.
“I’m trying to work on my game, knowing that coming over here, how many minutes I have to play and how strenuous it is working on my game and my body,” Blakely told Spin.ph shortly after the team’s practice on Monday at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
Blakely said he’s well aware that other PBA squads like Kia Motors and Blackwater have imports who are over seven feet in height.
But size doesn’t matter for the former PBA Best Import.
“I jumped on and took the great opportunity (to play for Purefoods Star) just to prove that I can play with 6-9 guys and being able to position to score and run up and down the floor for 48 minutes,” he added.
Blakely, who will be in his fourth tour of duty for the Hotshots, said he’s stayed in tip-top shape for the past months after helping the team register the franchise’s very first grand slam last year.
He noted that he has worked on his upper body and legs to be ready to lead the team’s transition plays whenever they have a chance.
“It’s (the Commissioner’s Cup) a different game as opposed to the Governors Cup, so by just understanding that and getting my wind right, my perimeter game and shooting foul shots a lot better, things like that, I want to help the team win,” said the 26-year-old Blakely, who averaged all-around numbers of 21.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.3 blocks and 2.2 steals in 64 PBA career games over the last three seasons.
The former Vermont standout said even if coach Tim Cone is still in the United States to look for a 6-9 import who can reinforce the team, his goal is to help the Hotshots get as many wins as possible.
“I’m just worried about playing and winning as many games as we can. So I can only control what I can control, but I’m just here to prove I can play against 6-9 players,” he said.
Purefoods Star begins its title defense on January 30 when it faces GlobalPort, which will be bannered by NBA D-League veteran CJ Leslie.