China-bound Macklin to play farewell game for Magnolia today
Games Today (Araneta Coliseum) 4:30 p.m. Blackwater vs TNT 7 p.m. Meralco vs Magnolia
Team Standings: Rain or Shine (4-1); TNT (3-1); Meralco (3-1); Alaska (3-1); GlobalPort (3-2); Columbian (3-3); Phoenix (2-2); Magnolia (2-1); Ginebra (1-2); NLEX (1-4); San Miguel (0-2); Blackwater (0-5) VERNON Macklin is a certified workhorse every game and will certainly come in handy in his farewell act with the Magnolia Hotshots.
Playing their third game in less than a week, the Hotshots are expected to sustain the same kind of energy with Macklin around when they meet league heavyweight Meralco in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup tonight.
“We won back-to-back games and we will face an elite team next,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Steadily climbing to the top, the Hotshots defeated the GlobalPort Batang Pier in an out-oftown sortie and wrecked the Columbian Dyip by 25 points on Wednesday night.
When the Hotshots erected a safe 30-point bulge against Columbian, Victolero began pulling out Macklin and his starters with still a full quarter to go.
“We need to prepare hard (for Meralco), so I decided to rest them early,” said Victolero.
They have to come up with their best form yet against a Meralco side that gave the San Miguel Beermen a jolt in their conference debut built on the endgame heroics of guard Amer Baser.
In his final game with the Hotshots, the China-bound Macklin also faces the biggest challenge of trying to limit Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku in the paint.
Onuaku, the Best Import in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup, flexed his might inside by providing the intangibles that weathered the trio of San Miguel bigmen June Mar Fajardo, import Troy Gillenwater and rookie Christian Standhardinger.
“You can see the difference of having a center like Arinze on our team because he helps us control the middle,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “He fills a big need for us.”
Set to part ways with import Jeremy Tyler, TNT KaTropa (3-1) will regroup against the hardluck Blackwater Elite (0-5) after absorbing their first defeat of the conference from the Alaska Aces. — Roster change for NLEX?
Meanwhile, NLEX coach Yeng Guiao is looking to make roster changes after another bad loss last Wednesday.
“I guess we have to seriously think about making changes,” said Guiao after a 116-94 loss to GlobalPort. “Changes could mean changes in the lineup and I’m not saying it’s just the import we’re looking at, there could be some changes in the local lineup also.”
Although Guiao didn’t say it directly, he did imply that import Arnett Moultrie hasn’t been as consistent as he had hoped for.
The 6-foot-10 Moultrie scored 19 points on 8-of-20 shooting against GlobalPort.