IMPORT Vernon Macklin has vowed to improve on his free throw shooting now that other teams are beginning to exploit the one major flaw in his game.
The 6-foot-9 Macklin was the target of the Meralco Bolts’ `Hack-A-Mack’ strategy on Friday night in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against Barangay Ginebra as they deliberately sent the import time and again to the foul line, where the import has been atrocious to say the least.
Ryan Gregorio's ploy almost worked as Macklin went just 5-of-15 from the foul line, including 3-of-8 in the final four minutes, as the Bolts almost completed a fightback from 21 points down before falling, 84-81.
Still, the import remains confident that he’ll be able to make his free throws and help the Kings win.
“I just want to come out with a win, whatever it takes to get the win. I know it’s a smart move to foul me because I’m not a good free throw shooter, but coach (Alfrancis Chua) told me to just shoot my free throws,” Macklin told Spin.ph later.
Despite his free throw struggles, Macklin said he never stopped practicing his foul shooting saying it’s the same work NBA stars Dwight Howard (of the LA Lakers) and Blake Griffin (of the LA Clippers) have been dealing with in their respective careers.
Meanwhile, Gegorio admitted the `Hack-A-Mack’” was part of the team's strategy. But he was left to rue one foul the Bolts tried to make on Macklin which was not called by the referees, who instead awarded the free throws to Mark Caguioa.
“Unfortunately, there was one foul that wasn’t given to Reynel (Hugnatan, who was trying to foul Macklin) and instead, the free throw was given to Mark Caguioa,” lamented Gregorio.
“I don’t know where the referees were looking, but it was very obvious for us that the ploy was to foul Macklin because he really struggles from the foul line. So the free throws given to Mark was a turning point of the game,” he added.