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Vernon Macklin all business in second PBA tour of duty

Whenever Vernon Macklin’s name gets mentioned in conversations here in the Philippines, the 6-foot-10 slotman will always be remembered as a Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import for bringing the Gin Kings to the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

Past is past, however.

Five years after that stint, Macklin has returned to the PBA. Unfortunately, however, he is now with Ginebra’s rivals: the Magnolia Hotshots.

The Gin Kings’ legions of fans surely felt weird upon hearing the news of Macklin’s arrival to the Hotshots. But for the native of Portsmouth, Virginia, it’s all about business. Nothing else.

“It’s not weird,” he said. “I got to take care of my family. I got respect for Ginebra, but these are my guys right now. No hard feelings.

“This is my job and it’s my job to play hard for my team.”

The former Detroit Piston debuted for Magnolia on Sunday, and he played as if he never missed a beat, as he top-billed for the Hotshots with 25 points on top of 17 rebounds and three assists.

Macklin received a rude welcome, as he and the Hotshots lost hold of a 16-point lead and bowed, 87-89, no thanks to Matthew Wright’s game-winning shots in the closing moments.

“Tough loss,” he rued.

The 31-year-old may have racked up decent numbers, but Macklin strongly felt that he still has a lot of catching up to do, and getting accustomed to 48-minute games is one of them.

“I need to get into better shape.

“Playing in [Korea], I played a certain amount of minutes. Going here, they play 48 minutes. I gotta get back in shape to help my team down the stretch,” he said.

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Still, Macklin isn’t letting this particular defeat bring his and Magnolia’s morale down, saying that the Hotshots will only get better as the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup goes along.

“Very upbeat. For these guys, they went straight to the Finals. This is our first game,” said the product of the Florida Gators program.

“We’re still upbeat and we will only get better.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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