PBA Best Imports: Marqus Blakely, Grand Slam Champ
Paul Kennedy Lintag on Apr 17, 2020 04:39 PM
Mr. Everything Marqus Blakely has nothing left to prove in the PBA after winning a Grand Slam with San Mig Coffee.
Local players are not the only ones that have become stars over the years in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Foreign players reinforcing teams, or those they call imports, can be just as beloved.
An import playing in the PBA is expected to deliver big numbers, however, production is not the only criteria that makes one successful in basketball on this side of the world.
Winning, charisma, and actual love for the PBA and its fans also heavily go into it. The Best Imports will be recognized in name, but the truly great ones that have made their mark here are more than just one-hit wonders.
In this series, we take a look at some of the reinforcements that have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s kick things off with Best Import, Marqus Blakely.
Marqus Blakely most recent stops in the PBA were with the TNT KaTropa and Blackwater Elite. And while he’s proven to still be one of the better imports in the league during those stints, both ended with no playoff appearances.
Even Blakely’s final stint with Star, his original PBA franchise, didn’t exactly end on good terms. With the Hotshots struggling with a 1-3, Marqus was let go for Joel Wright. Still, Star didn’t really fare better and they finished the conference with a 2-9 mark.
Despite Blakely’s rather unceremonious exit with Star, he was given an emotional send-off by his teammates. That’s because even while his later performances have been underwhelming, the work he put before more than makes up for it.
Plus, it’s not like he’s been bad with his more recent outings. He was still the same Mr. Everything.
A terror for opponents on both ends, Blakely first burst into the scene in the 2012 Governors’ Cup, joining a B-Meg team that just won the Commissioner’s Cup championship.
Averaging 22.4 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game, Blakely and the Llamados would make it all the way to the Finals, but would lose to Rain or Shine in seven games.
With some unfinished business, Blakely would return to the PBA in the 2013 Governors’ Cup for B-Meg, then renamed as the San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Blakely improved his shooting and averaged just a shade under 24 points on top of almost five assists per game. He also still consistently provided 15 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks for San Mig Coffee. Blakely would win his first and only Best Import award at the end of the conference.
Faced with another Game 7 in the Finals, the Mixers would beat Petron for the title and San Mig Coffee will bring back Blakely for next year.
By the time Marqus suited up for San Mig Coffee for a third time in the 2014 Governors’ Cup, the Mixers have won another two titles and were on the verge of a Grand Slam.
Blakely’s numbers dropped in 2014, most notably his scoring. But his rebounding was up to 15.7 boards per game and his veteran presence and established chemistry with his local teammates were unmatched as he led the Mixers to a do-or-die win in the Finals against Rain or Shine to complete the Grand Slam.
It’s pretty crazy to think about that Blakely only has one Best Import award to his name. In the grand scheme of things, he does only have two championships in eight total conferences in the PBA, his later stints as a late replacement import hurting his overall numbers.
However, very few can match Blakely’s impact to a team, especially during his first three tours of duty with the Purefoods franchise. Fewer imports can also claim to winning a Grand Slam in the PBA like him.
That alone makes Marqus Blakely truly one of the Best Imports in the PBA.
Best Import, Marqus Blakely:
- Eight PBA conferences for B-Meg/San Mig Coffee/Star, TNT, and Blackwater
- One-time Best Import
- 2-time Champion
- Grand Slam winner
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