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PBA: Magnolia, SMB go for ‘balik’ imports

By WAYLON GALVEZ

The finals showdown between defending three-time Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok will start today but this early, the two teams have already signed their respective imports for the mid-season PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The reigning Commissioner’s Cup champion Beermen are bringing in former Mighty Sports Apparel and Accessories import Troy Gillenwater while the Hotshots have tapped ex-Ginebra import Vernon Macklin.

Macklin helped the Kings reach the finals of this same conference five years ago under coach Alfrancis Chua against the Alaska Aces.

A knee injury, however, limited Macklin’s playing minutes and Alaska went on to win the championship via 3-0 sweep of their best-of-five series.

Macklin is set to arrive Thursday.

As for Gillenwater, the 29-year-old native of Boston has been signed by SMB since former import Charles Rhodes is still under contract with the KCC Egis, which is contending for a finals berth.

Gillenwater is no stranger to the Filipino brand of basketball having played for the Caesar Wongchuking-managed Mighty Sports in the Dubai International tournament last year.

The 6-foot-9 Gillenwater went undrafted during the 2012 NBA draft, but he was taken second overall by the Orions during the 2014 KBL draft. He also had stints in Greece, Russia, Japan and Turkey.

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