Vernon Macklin delivered another win before leaving the Magnolia Hotshots to attend a commitment in the Chinese league.
With a far better clip from the line than Arinze Onuaku, Macklin lifted the Hotshots past the Meralco Bolts, 81-79, in a tight, low-scoring duel in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.
Onuaku converted just five of 21 foul shots while Macklin drained 11-of-14, including a pair that shattered the 79-all deadlock with 3.1 ticks to go.
The Hotshots eventually escaped with a third straight win as Chris Newsome muffed a potential game-tying alley-oop shot at the buzzer.
Magnolia caught up with Alaska Milk at 3-1, half-game behind Rain or Shine (4-1) and TNT KaTropa (4-1), while Meralco dropped down to 3-2.
Macklin preserved his teammates’ efforts as he grabbed a big defensive rebound then nailed two free throws to cap a 21-point, 15-rebound showing in his farewell game with the Hotshots.
Magnolia 81 – Macklin 21, Lee 20, Barroca 18, Sangalang 6, Reavis 6, Ramos 3, Herndon 3, Brondial 2, Dela Rosa 2, Pascual 0, Simon 0, Sangalang 0, Abundo 0.
Meralco 79 – Onuaku 23, Newsome 15, Amer 14, Dillinger 12, Canaleta 7, Amer 4, Baracael 2, Hugnatan 2, Ballesteros 0, Salva 0, Hodge 0, Lanete 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarterscores: 19-16, 34-31, 50-56, 81-79.