FOR his loyalty, Marqus Blakely is set to be rewarded with a short stint as Purefoods' stand-in import in the coming PBA Commissioner's cup.
Purefoods governor Rene Pardo told Spin.ph the team has decided to tap Blakely since it is having a hard time signing up a tall import for the midseason tournament which is set to kick off on January 27.
Blakely is just a shade below 6-foot-5, which might be disadvantageous for the Hotshots considering that most teams will parade imports 6-foot-9 or taller.
For finishing in 8th to 12th place in the Philippine Cup, Blackwater Elite, Kia Sorento, NLEX Road Warriors and the Barako Bull Energy are allowed to parade imports of unlimited height.
"Nagpakita kasi ng interest si Marquis to return. He turned down a lot of offers kasi gusto niyang bumalik sa Purefoods ngayon. He didn't know na ang 6-5 (height limit) is for the third conference," said Pardo.
"Since wala pa kaming makuha, we decided to call him kung pwede pa siya. Good thing he is available pa rin," added the longtime Purefoods official.
Pardo bared that no contract has been signed yet, but it is already being worked out by team manager Alvin Patrimonio.
Blakely is set to arrive anytime this week.
The amiable Purefoods official also bared that head coach Tim Cone will be flying to the US on Monday to personally scout import prospects in the NBA D-League.
"Temporary lang si Marqus, hanggat wala pang nakikita. Pero depende rin kasi mahahaba naman ang kamay nun so I don't think mapag-iiwanan siya ng mga karibal niya," Pardo said.
Purefoods initially explored bringing back Denzel Bowles, but the hard-banging American will not be available until the last week of February as his team in China surprisingly made it to the playoffs.
Bowles, it is feared, is also beyond the 6-9 height limit.
The revised schedule of the import-laden conference has made it difficult for some PBA teams to get quality imports as most prospects are already committed in different lesgues around the world.
This is the sesson where NBA teams normally offer 10-day contracts to top performing players in the NBA D-League.