VERNON Macklin may have finished his Magnolia stint in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday, but he wants to etch more memories in the Philippines as he signified his willingness to come back here in the future.
Macklin’s campaign with the Hotshots ended on a high note when he made two free throws with 3.1 seconds left in the game to pull off an 81-79 win over Meralco.
Macklin finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks for the Hotshots Pambansang Manok.
As he heads to China to play in its second-tier basketball league, Macklin said he would love to come back in the Philippines as he was welcomed here with open arms since he played for Barangay Ginebra in 2013.
“Always,” said Macklin, when asked if he wants to return to the Philippines. “Like I said, this place always has a special place in my heart. Five years ago, I started with Ginebra and even here (with Magnolia), the fans are great.”
“Everybody’s showing you love out here so I’m always open to come out here and get back in the PBA,” said Macklin.
The 31-year-old Macklin is happy to give Magnolia the win before he heads out to China, but at the same time sad as he has already built relationships with the Hotshots.
“It feels great. It feels great winning any game but for this to be my last game with these guys in this conference, to actually leave on a good note and get a win, it feels great,” said Macklin.
“We played four games together. We had more practice together so it’s very, very tough and emotional. But you know, they understand as well as I understand that I have a situation that I have to take care of me and my family,” he added.
After the game, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero lauded Macklin’s professionalism by playing his all until his final game with the Hotshots.
“That’s what I want to do,” said Macklin. “Coach gave me a great opportunity. They believed in me and all my teammates so that’s what I have to do. I have to go out there and play hard and play with confidence and just play like our locals play and also do what they ask me to do.”