HAD the PBA Commissioner’s Cup stuck to its old format of a single round eliminations, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel would have been in dire straits at this point having suffered three successive losses from Air 21 (74-70), Global Port (89-80) and Petron Blaze (105-90).
With the elimination round stretched to 14 games instead of the original nine, there’s still room for recovery for the Kings.
But bouncing back has to start now. The bleeding must stop.
Enter a new import in Vernon Macklin whose potential will be tested in Saturday’s 6:30 meeting between the winless Kings and the unbeaten Alaska Aces at the Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
The 6-10 Macklin, a second round pick (52nd) overall of the Detroit Piston in the 2011 NBA Draft, came in as a replacement for the unimpressive Herbert Hill.
In three games played, Hill was good for 18.33 points and 16 rebounds. But there simply was no fire in his performance as he failed to inspire the locals.
And head coach Alfrancis Chua, who has yet to post his first win with the Kings since replacing Siot Tanquingcen at the helm, is hoping that Macklin will indeed provide the fire.
Macklin, who turns 27 on September 25, hails from Portsmouth Virginia and played for the University of Florida where he earned a degree in Sociology.
After being drafted by the Pistons, he suited up for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBA D-League. He averaged 15 points and 14 rebounds in ten games. From there, he went on to play for Royal Hali Gaziantep in the Turkish Basketball League and Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA D-League.
Macklin will be going up against Robert Dozier who has steadily improved on his numbers. Dozier averaged 22.33 points, 16.67 rebounds, an assist, 1.33 steals and 3.33 blocked shots in 40.33 minutes as the Aces chalked up victories over Rain Or Shine (83-81), Meralco (85-81) and Barako Bull (77-73).
“I like the versatility of our import. I believe he can match up well with Macklin,” said Alaska head coach Luigi Trillo.
Likewise, Trillo has been thankful for his team’s schedule as he said it allowed the Aces to build confidence having gone up against teams that are still groping for form after changes in their rosters.
Save for the Elasto Painters, Alaska went up against Meralco which lost four players ad got three new ones via a trade with Global Port. Likewise, Bakaro Bull has six new additions to its roster while peppered with injuries to several players.
And now, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has a new import and there might be a question of chemistry which must be addressed.
Three Alaska locals are logging double figures in scoring. Cyrus Baguio has 12 points aside from 2.67 rebounds, 2.67 assists, 1.67 steals and 1.44 blocked shots. Prized rookie Calvin Abueva is good for 10.67 points, 10 rebounds and 1.67 assists while slotman Sonny Thoss, Alaska’s contribution to the Gilas Pilipinas squad, averages 10.33 points, two rebounds, 1.33 assists and two steals.
Over at Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio also average double figures in scoring. Caguioa, the reigning Most Valuable Player, has 23.33 points to go with 3.33 rebounds, four assists and 0.33 steal in 38 minutes. Tenorio , who is also part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool, has ten points, 3.67 rebounds, four assists and 3.33 steals in 29.33 minutes. (BP)