Star opts for Marqus Blakely, ditches plan to re-hire Ricardo Ratliffe

Star board governor Rene Pardo said the Hotshots have decided to bring back the reliable and athletic Marqus Blakely as their import for the season-ending PBA Governors Cup set to kick off on July 15.

“Sinabihan ko na si Jason na si Blakely na ang kukunin namin,” Pardo told FOX Sports on Thursday.

The soft-spoken Star executive said it would be unfair not to bring back Blakely, who has turned down several offers from other foreign teams just to be able to play for Star.

“Marqus already turned down several offers from other teams, eh nakakahiya naman kung di pa siya kukunin namin,” said Pardo.

“Ilang beses na kami naka-Finals with Blakely kaya sinabihan ko na si Jason,” he added.

Star has the privilege of tapping a 6-9 import after finishing among the bottom 4 teams during the first 2 conferences.

In fact, Pardo mentioned last April that the team has considered bringing back Ricardo Ratliffe, the Hotshots’ 6-foot-8 import in the Commissioner’s Cup for the third conference.

Based on league ruling, the top 8 teams on the elimination standings in the Philippine Cup (60 percent basis) and Commissioner’s Cup (40 percent basis) will be allowed to bring in a regular import of up to 6-5.

On the other hand, the bottom 4 teams will be allowed to bring in a 6-9 import.

Pardo said the PBA board already clarified the import ruling during its monthly meeting on Thursday at the league’s office.

Mahindra, Blackwater and Phoenix are the 3 others team, which are allowed to tap 6-9 reinforcements for the third conference.

Meanwhile, Blakely, who began his PBA career in the 2012 Governors Cup, has career averages of 21.92 points, 14.27 rebounds, 3.98 assists, 2.46 blocks and 2.39 steals in 83 games.

The former Vermon standout led the Purefoods franchise to Governors Cup championships in the 2013 and 2014.

The 6-foot-4 Blakely is coming off a stint with the Busan KT Sonicboom where he averaged 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 53 games. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava