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Magnolia has new import

by Jonas Terrado

ILOILO CITY – The Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok resume their campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup this week with globetrotting Curtis Kelly serving as replacement import in lieu of Vernon Macklin’s departure.

Coach Chito Victolero, who is here coaching the Visayas All-Stars in the final leg of All-Star Week last night, said the 30-year-old is due to arrive today ahead of the Hotshots’ match against league-leader Rain or Shine on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The former Kansas State player had spent most of his pro career in Israel but also had stints in Turkey and Lebanon.

Victolero and the rest of the Hotshots are banking on Kelly to equal the contributions provided by Macklin in the first four games of the midseason conference.

Macklin was forced to cut short his second PBA campaign after accepting a contract to play for a minor league team in China.

Magnolia sits in fourth place with a 3-1 record, trailing Rain or Shine (5-1), Alaska and TNT KaTropa (4-1).

Kelly is the eighth replacement import this conference, joining San Miguel’s Renaldo Balkman, Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee, TNT KaTropa’s Joshua Smith, Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps, Columbian’s John Fields, Blackwater’s Henry Walker and NLEX’s Arnett Moultrie.