NEGOTIATIONS between Brgy. Ginebra and former Los Angeles Laker DJ Mbenga hit a snag on Thursday morning, leaving the Kings to turn to another prospect from the NBA D-League.
Mbenga’s Philippine agent, Sheryl reyes, told Spin.ph that the seven-foot Congolese-Belgian cannot commit to the request of Ginebra to fly in this weekend since there were pressing matters that he had to attend to in the US.
“May mga inaasikaso pa kasi si DJ sa US, sa February 22 pa siya magiging available," Reyes said. "Hindi niya kaya yung hinihiling ng Ginebra na ASAP."
A source from the Ginebra camp bared that with Mbenga out of the picture, the Kings' coaches and officials have turned their sights to Vernon Macklin, a center for D-League side Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The 6-10 Macklin was one of the players on Ginebra's original list of prospects before the team's negotiations with Mbenga picked up over the last three days.
Though Macklin is not under her wings, Reyes feels the import will be a good choice for the Kings.
“Magaling yun," was the short comment of Reyes, who is still optimistc that Mbenga will one day strut his wares in the PBA.
“We can’t say that the negotiations have bogged down. Kasi pwede pa naman i-revive ng Ginebra or other teams yung talk with Mbenga," said the female agent of the seven-year NBA veteran.
A formal offer has been sent to Macklin on Thursday, but even Ginebra officials doubt if he can make it in time for the Kings' game against Petron on Sunday.
As it is, Herbert Hill will still suit up for Ginebra - and perhaps get one final chance to keep his job - in the game against Globalport on Friday.
“Malabo na siguro yun. Kasi ang dami pang paper works niyan sa GAB (Games and Amusement Board) at (Bureau of) Immigration," said the Ginebra insider.
If and when Macklin comes to terms with Ginebra, the soonest he can arrive is on Monday and his debut will most likely come against the Alaska Aces in a road game in Tubod, Lanao del Norte on February 23.