VERNON Macklin may have had his share of playing with and against the best players in the world during his stint with the NBA.
But he remains amazed with the way reigning league MVP Mark Caguioa has been playing for Ginebra until the highly-popular shooting guard suffered an MCL injury that made him miss the Kings’ PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against Barako Bull on Sunday.
“First of all, Mark’s a great leader. He taught us a lot during the game, and also the way he scores for us. So he’s very key for us on and off the court,” Macklin said when asked about his thoughts on Caguioa’s absence from the Kings' 96-89 win over the Energy Cola.
The former Detroit Piston admitted being inspired by Caguioa’s gung-ho style of play, which is credited for the sudden resurgence of the Kings heading into the playoffs.
“Obviously, losing a great fella like Mark, we just got to step up our level of game and play hard. Losing Mark has been tough for us, but coach just wants us to play with more intensity,” added the soft-spoken Macklin, who finished the game with 33 points and 22 rebounds.
Macklin also singled out playmaker LA Tenorio for setting the tone for the big win.
Tenorio, who has been concentrating on orchestrating Ginebra’s plays for most of the season, went on scoring mode in Caguioa’s absence, banging in a personal season-high 27 points on 5-of-10 three-point shooting.
“That (game of Tenorio) was huge. I think he made like five threes tonight. He was very aggressive for us tonight,” noted the 26-year-old Ginebra import.