Down to his last couple of games in the 2018 Honda PBA Comissioner's Cup, Vernon Macklin made sure he would not leave his Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok with a losing record.
The import, set to leave soon to play in the Chinese Basketball League, paved the way for his team as they demolished the Columbian Dyip, 126-101, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
Macklin had a monstrous performance of 17 points and eight rebounds on an imposing 7-for-8 field goal shooting. He did all that while sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
It did not take long for Magnolia to break away. Midway through the first quarter, the Hotshots went out on a 17-2 run to establish a 14-point lead. There was never any sign of mercy from then on. The lead reached a high of 38 points, 111-73, early in the fourth quarter.
Efficient offense was the key for the Hotshots. They moved the ball well and always looked for high percentage attempts, often spotting their import for easy baskets underneath.
The Hotshots were an impressive 57 percent from the field. They produced 64 points in the paint and had a whopping total of 28 assists.
Paul Lee and Mark Barroca were Magnolia's main facilitators, teaming up for half of their team's assists while also contributing 17 points each. Three other locals finished in double figures for the Hotshots.
John Bailey Fields struggled against the bigs of Magnolia. After huge scoring outputs of 39 and 34 points, while shooting 73 percent from the field, in his first two games, he had his worst offensive game of the conference. He had 22 points to go along with 19 rebounds, but only shot 8-for-21 from the field.
The locals could not save Columbian either. Jerramy King, the Dyip's leading local scorer, had 19 points. Rashawn McCarthy finished with 12. However, most of those points came late, with the battle already settled.
With the win, Magnolia improved to a 2-1 slate.
Macklin will try to lead the team to another win as he plays his final game with the Hotshots on Friday when they take on the Meralco Bolts.
The Dyip, who have seen a experienced of success playing fast-paced basketball, barely got to operate in the speed they wanted. Coming into the match, they led the league in fastbreak points, 26.6 per game. They were limited to just 16 against Magnolia.
With Magnolia ahead, 111-76 at the 7:49 mark of the fourth quarter, a mini commotion broke out as Jio Jalalon and Rashawn McCarthy got in it with each other. Both players eventually cooled down preventing the situation from escalating, but a technical foul was whistled on Jalalon.
Magnolia versus Meralco on May 18 (Friday) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Columbian versus TNT on June 1 (Friday) at the Mall of Asia Arena