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PBA: Macklin lifts Magnolia past Meralco in farewell game

Vernon Macklin couldn’t have written a better script for his farewell game for Magnolia in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

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Macklin sank the game-winning free throws with 3.1 seconds left to lift the Hotshots over the Meralco Bolts, 81-79, Friday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Macklin capped a 9-0 burst by the Hotshots in the final one minute and 48 seconds and finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and a block in his last game before leaving for China to play in the National Basketball League.

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Magnolia coach Chito Victolero lauded Macklin not only for leading the team to its third win in four games but more importantly for his professionalism.

“He already has a contract in China but he still gave us his all in this game,” said Victolero in Filipino.

The Bolts blew a golden opportunity to force overtime after Chris Newsome failed to complete an alleyoop off a well-designed out of bounds play as time expired.

Paul Lee also flourished in the endgame, hitting the game-tying freebies 32 ticks to go before setting up Macklin for the go-ahead free throws after drawing the double-team. Lee wound up with 20 points, six coming in the fourth quarter. Mark Barroca added 18, 12 of which came in the final frame.

Meralco shot 50 percent from the field but made only 14 out of its 34 attempts from the free throw line with Arinze Onuaku alone going 5-of-21.

Onuaku paced the Bolts (3-2) with a game-high 23 points on top of 11 rebounds and seven assists while Newsome had 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

The Hotshots hung on to win despite losing star big man Ian Sangalang to an injury early in the second quarter.

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TAGS: 2018 Commissioner's Cup, Arinze Onuaku, Chris Newsome, Ian Sangalang, Magnolia Hotshots, Meralco Bolts, Paul Lee, PBA, Vernon Macklin
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