VERNON Macklin hit two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to complete Magnolia’s 81-79 comeback over Meralco on Friday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Macklin’s free throws capped the Hotshots’ fightback from seven points down in the final quarter and gave the team its third win in four outings in the import's farewell game.
Macklin is heading to China to play in its second-tier National Basketball League.
Magnolia, however, didn't heave a sigh of relief until Meralco guard Chris Newsome missed a wide-open lay-up off a perfectly drawn alley-oop play in the game's final possession.
”I would like to thank V-Mack,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero of his import, who finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds in his farewell game with the Hotshots this conference.
“We know that this is his last game. He needs to fly to China but binigay niya ang lahat. I’m very happy and proud of V-Mack because he is very professional.”
The Hotshots trailed by seven points, 79-72, before Aldrech Ramos buried his only triple of the game followed by a bank shot by Mark Barroca to cut Meralco's lead to two points.
Paul Lee tied the game when he scored two free throws, 79-79, off a Cliff Hodge foul with 32 seconds to play and, after a Newsome miss, set up Macklin for the marginal free throws.
Lee finished with 20 points while Barroca chalked up 18 points for the Hotshots.
Meralco looked headed for victory after an 8-0 run capped by two free throws by Arinze Onuaku with 1:48 left in the fourth. But Onuaku missed four free throws in the endgame.
Magnolia 81 - Macklin 21, Lee 20, Barroca 18, Reavis 6, Jalalon 6, Ramos 3, Herndon 3, Dela Rosa 2, Brondial 2, Pascual 0, Simon 0, Sangalang 0, Abundo 0.
Meralco 79 - Onuaku 23, Newsome 15, Amer 14, Dillinger 12, Canaleta 7, Caram 4, Baracael 2, Hodge 0, Ballesteros 0, Salva 0, Lanete 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarterscores: 19-16; 34-31; 50-56; 81-79.