HE lacks sleep and is still battling jetlag, yet new Barangay Ginebra import Vernon Macklin has already made a big impression on teammates.
“Ang lakas niya. Talagang nangangalabaw siya sa ilalim,” said Ginebra forward Rico Maierhofer at the end of the Kings’ practice on Monday at the Xavier School gym.
“Bigat bantayan,” he added.
Maierhofer even recalled one play during the three-on-three drills where Macklin put an emphatic finish on an alley-oop pass by Kerby Raymundo with a slam dunk.
“Ang lupit 'nung dunk niya. Puyat at may jetlag pa yun ... kaya tingin ko mas lalakas pa siya,” added the newly-wed Maierhofer.
Another Ginebra big man, Willie Wilson, described Macklin as a Denzel Bowles type of import who can make a big difference inside the paint with his size and behind-the-basket moves.
“Ang lapad niya, na may kilos, na malakas mag post up,” said Wilson, who guarded Macklin during the one-hour drill which coach Alfrancis Chua precisely called to size up Herbert Hill’s replacement.
Both Maierhofer and Wilson, though, want to see their new reinforcement in five-on-five drills before making a full assessment on Macklin.
The former Florida Gators stalwart joined Ginebra’s drills after arriving early Monday to take over from Hill, who was shipped out after the Kings’ 0-3 start to the season.
Aside from Maierhofer, Raymundo and Wilson, also present during the mini-practice were Rob Labagala, Elmer Espiritu and Keith Jensen.
This early, Labagala is sure Macklin will be a lot better than the out-of-shape Hill.
“Tingin ko mas okay ito, kasi may diin yung laro niya eh. Saka nakita ko yung mga bantay niya kanina sa drills napapa-atras,” bared Labagala.
When asked about his first impression with his new team, Macklin said he is happy to join the country’s most popular ballclub.
“Practice is pretty cool, we did some plays ... can’t wait to play with them,” said Macklin.