Vernon Macklin yearns to win PBA title at Magnolia after falling short with Ginebra
Vernon Macklin watches Game Three from near the Magnolia bench. Jerome Ascano

WHAT Vernon Macklin failed to complete for Barangay Ginebra, he’s looking forward to fulfill with Magnolia.

The 31-year-old former Ginebra import is back for another tour of duty in the league, this time with the Hotshots come the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup which kicks off on April 22.

Macklin arrived in the country on Black Saturday and immediately showed support to his new team by watching Game 3 of the Philippine Cup Finals against defending champion San Miguel at ringside of the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

The former Detroit Piston said he’s looking forward to winning a first-ever PBA championship after coming up short with the Kings during the 2013 edition of the import-laden conference.

“It feels great to be given a second chance to come back in the PBA. Just being able to come back here and play for Magnolia is a great situation,” he said in a short chat with SPIN.ph.

Macklin steered Ginebra all the way to the Commissioner’s Cup finals five years ago. But hampered by injury, the import and the Kings were swept by Rob Dozier and the Alaska Aces in the best-of-five title series.

The product of Georgetown and Florida said he’ll always treasure his stint with Ginebra, although his focus right now is to help the Hotshots win the championship, noting there is nothing really personal against the Kings.

“There’s nothing wrong to say hi (to them),” he said. “But my new teammates now are here playing. They’re a great group of guys who has a great coach. So I’ll play with these guys no matter what.”

The Magnolia import also doesn’t see any issue in his first encounter against the Kings.

“It’s a game. It’s like any other game, no matter where and no matter what. I’ll just go out there and play like I always do,” said Macklin.

He also likes Magnolia’s chance for a championship.

“They’re a pretty good (team). They’ve got great guards, great shooters, nice pick and pop play even though Mark (Pingris) is hurt,” said Macklin, who sat a few seats away from where Pingris was.

“They’re a good team, and I see myself fitting in, get rebounds, run the floor, play defense, and give some energy plays,” he added.

Since his last stint here, Macklin admitted the league has become bigger, especially with the likes of June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Raymund Almazan, Troy Rosario, Ian Sangalang, among others.

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“I think the players have become a bit bigger, and that makes it more physical,” said the 6-foot-10 import.

“But I’m ready for them,” Macklin added. “That’s my job, to be ready, be well-coached, and be a great teammate.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos