After spending his entire professional basketball playing career in the United States in the NBA Development League, former University of Vermont forward Marqus Blakely is headed overseas. The 6-foot-5 Blakely signed with the B-Meg Llamados of the Philippine Basketball Association on a short-term contract for the Governor’s Cup, his agent Sam Porter confirmed to Sporting Vermont.
Blakely’s contract will run from May to August. Porter cited the professional and high-level basketball atmosphere of the Philippines as a factor. During the NBA Lockout, many professional stars like Kobe Bryant played in a series of exhibition games in the country. The Llamados are owned by the San Miguel Corporation, the largest publicly-listed food distribution company in Southeast Asia.
After a brief stint with the Houston Rockets for training camp, Blakely returned to the D-League with the Iowa Energy, where he played the 2010-11 season, before being traded to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In Sioux Falls, he appeared in 35 games, making 27 starts, averaging 16.1 points per game along with seven rebounds per game, earning a NBDL All-Star honors in the process. The Skyforce finished the season 15-35 missing out on the playoffs.
The Governor’s Cup is part of a three-conference set up in the Philippines that allows for one import player that can be no taller than 6-foot-6 to be brought into the squad for a four-month season that typically runs in the summer. Nine teams play eight games in a single round-robin elimination format, with the top six teams advancing to the semifinals. From there, another round-robin is played, as each team plays five additional games, with their records from the elimination round rolling over. The top two teams from the semifinals then face off in a best-of-seven series to determine the champion.