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PBA: Magnolia tests Dyip’s mettle

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Magnoliavs Columbian
7 p.m. – NLEX vs GlobalPort

By JONAS TERRADO

Vernon Macklin will begin the final week of his second PBA stint today when the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok take on the surprising Columbian Dyip in the Commissioner’s Cup doubleheader at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Macklin hopes to go out a win-ner in his final two games with the

Hotshots, beginning with the 4:30 p.m. opener against the Dyip, after accepting a guaranteed contract to play for a club team in China.

His agent Sheryl Reyes confirmed the news late Monday, adding that Macklin will play his final game on Friday when Magnolia faces Meralco also at the Big Dome.

“He was given a guaranteed contract that he can’t pass up on,” Reyes said in a tweet while thanking San Miguel sports director Alfrancis Chua and Magnolia team governor Rene Pardo for “understanding our situation and allowing him to go.”

Pardo was unavailable for com-ment.

But before pondering on the search of a replacement, Magnolia looks to build on the momentum gained from Saturday’s 92-87 victory over GlobalPort in an out-of-town game in Angeles City, Pampanga. The Hotshots leaned on their
trademark defense while getting key baskets from Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee to secure the win that came after a heartbreaking 89-87 loss to the Phoenix Fuel Masters last May 6 in their first game this conference.

Magnolia expects a tough challenge from Columbian, which exactly

a week ago dealt Rain or Shine its first loss with a 104-96 victory. Import John Fields will be tasked to continue his impressive form for the Dyip, who are toting a 3-2 record.

Meanwhile, GlobalPort and NLEX meet in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. as the two squads seek to climb into the standings.

The Batang Pier are raring to redeem themselves from their loss to the Hotshots after main players Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony struggled on offense in the latter part of that contest. GlobalPort is tied for sixth with Phoenix wit an even 2-2 slate.

Meanwhile, Renaldo Balkman is set to make his PBA return five years after being banned for choking a teammate after the San Miguel Beermen announced him as replacement for off-form import Troy Gillenwater.

San Miguel team manager Gee Abanilla made the announcement yesterday.

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