Vernon Macklin overwhelmed by PH fans reception, hopes for PBA return

It has been three years since Vernon Macklin led Barangay Ginebra to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against eventual champion Alaska.

But since arriving in Manila a few days ago to reinforce Mighty Sports in the annual William Jones Cup, the 6-foot-10 Macklin said he can’t believe that Pinoy hoop fans still recognized him and showed him love everywhere he went.

“It’s an indescribable feeling. Actually I’ve been talking about it with my family yesterday and telling them that I still couldn’t believe that everywhere like the malls, anywhere, the stores, and the game, like they still showed love like I still played for Ginebra,” said the 29-year-old standout of Florida.

Macklin, known in the PBA circle by his nickname V-Mack, said he was able to reconnect with Alfrancis Chua, his coach back then with Ginebra, along with former teammates Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Jayjay Helterbrand.

The soft-spoken American import went out and had dinner with Chua and Co. shortly after Ginebra’s 83-71 win over GlobalPort over the weekend.

“On my first day here, I was able to watch the Ginebra game and watch the team and also I was able to talk to Alfrancis Chua, me, Mark and LA and Jayjay and we went to eat out after the game,” he said.

Should he be given the chance to play again for Ginebra, Macklin said he’d like to be back and play for the PBA’s most popular ball club.

“For sure, we’re trying. I know my agent was trying last season (to bring him back to Ginebra) but also trying next season in the following Commissioner’s Cup. So me and Al Chua have been speaking about it,” he added.

But for now, Macklin will be focusing on helping Mighty Sports win the Jones Cup title, where he’ll have fellow former PBA imports in Al Thornton, Zach Graham, Michael Singletary and Hamady NDiyae as teammates, along with Korean Basketball League mainstays Dewarick Spencer and Troy Gillenwater. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava