The Blackwater Elite are bringing in former PBA Best Import Marqus Blakely to take the spot of the injured Aaron Fuller in the 2019 East Asia Super League Terrific 12 which kicks off on September 17 in Macau.
Blakely, who won two championships with the Purefoods franchise, is expected to arrive in Manila on Sunday.
"Marqus is arriving in time for the Terrific 12," Blackwater team governor Silliman Sy told ESPN5 on Thursday. "Our physical therapist estimates three to four weeks of healing time [for Fuller] so by that time we might be eliminated [in the Governors' Cup]."
Blakely saw action for TNT last season, where he played five games and averaged 23.0 points, 9.8 rebounds 6.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks. The KaTropa, however, failed to reach the quarterfinals with a 4-7 record in the 2018 Governors' Cup.
Sy said they intend to seek Blakely's release from TNT so they could avail of the 30-year-old American's services for the Governors' Cup this season. The KaTropa will have KJ McDaniels as their import for the season-ending conference.
"We don't foresee any problem (seeking Blakely's release)," he said.
The 6-foot-4 Blakely is coming off a stint with the Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka in Japan where he normed 18.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 35.8 minutes of play.
On Wednesday, Blackwater lost to the visiting Changwon LG Sakers, 103-93, in a scrimmage game at the Aero Center Basketball gym in Quezon City.
Aside from missing Fuller, the Elite didn't have veteran gunner Allein Maliksi and rookie Bobby Ray Parks, Jr.
The Sakers got off to a quick 12-0 start behind their quick ball movement and crisp outside shooting. But the Elite responded behind import Alex Stepheson, Chris Javier and Roi Sumang to keep the game close, before the Sakers pulled away in the end.
"It was a good game for us seeing where we at at the moment in terms of level of competitiveness," Elite coach Aris Dimaunahan said. "But they (Sakers) are super disciplined. They would almost always take clear looks and are willing to give up the leather to a more open teammate."
The Sakers, semifinalists in the 2019 Korean Basketball League season, are in the country to play a series of practice games with PBA teams as they prepare for their new KBL season.
The Korea pro club is slated to face Barangay Ginebra in what is dubbed the Asian Basketball Showdown II on September 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Stepheson played in the first and third quarters, before sitting out the final quarter as Dimaunahan gave the locals more playing time. Stepheson led the Elite with 16 points, while Sumang and Javier chipped in 14 apiece.
Blackwater will face Alaska in another tuneup match on Friday. The Elite are out to make a strong impression in the East Asia Super League Terrific 12 where they are bracketed in Group A against Korean team Seoul SK Knights and Japanse squad Chiba Jets.