OTHER than becoming familiar already with the system of Barangay Ginebra, import Vernon Macklin is likewise getting hooked on local dishes.
And among the food that has caught the fancy of the Portsmouth, Virginia native, it’s siopao or steamed buns that stands out in his mind.
Macklin had his first taste of the Chinese delicacy right in his first practice with the Kings on the prodding of coach Al Chua, but he was initially hesitant to give it a try.
The 26-year-old American power forward carefully checked the bun as if looking for a bomb inside.
“Does it had beans on it?” he asked. “My stomach gets bum on beans, you know.”
Chua replied: “No, that’s pork. We call that Chinese burger.”
Convinced, the import took a small bite.
“Wow, this tastes good. This is good,” Macklin said.
Macklin later tweeted on his account @vernon_macklin, “the food out here is amazing….I love it (ima fat boy at heart) lol.”
Aside from siopao, the former Florida Gator is also enjoying other Filipino dishes like Bistek, which team staffer Rey Baron introduced to him, molong isda, sinigang na lapu-lapu, and adobo.
The Kings are currently in Tubod, Lanao del Norte for their PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against Alaska, and Macklin is served with his favorite food fried chicken on the eve of his debut in the league.
“Life is great couldn’t ask for more,” he tweeted.
Despite his increasing fondness for Filipino foods, a top Ginebra official however doubts if Macklin will ever have the guts to eat `balut’ (a protein-rich fertilized egg).
“Malabong kumain ito. Saka wala na si Ronald (Tubid) dito, `yun ang madalas mag-alok sa mga imports,” said the Ginebra official, who also revealed that of all the team’s past imports, only Awvee Storey was daring enough to taste the exotic food.
“Pero bumaligtad rin sa upuan si Awvee nuon, kasi nung nakain na niya, parang nahindik sa balahibo nung sisiw nung nasa bibig na niya,” the official recalled.
Other than the food, Macklin is also enjoying the close resemblance of the Filipino culture to the US.
“Nung nag-lakad daw yun sa The Fort noong isang hapon, tuwang tuwa siya. Para daw siyang nasa Los Angeles,” added the Ginebra official, who can’t help himself be amused with how Macklin had been performing in team practices.
“Tingin ko 3-0 din kami katulad ng Alaska kung itong import na agad namin ang nakasama.”