Magnolia is still shuffling and looking for the right mix.
It’s possible that the search ends with Wayne Chism on board for the team’s remaining games, but nothing is certain even with the former Best Import awardee’s presence. Three imports have suited up for the Hotshots and while Vernon Macklin’s departure may have been for a different yet acceptable reason, the two who followed have been relatively lackluster.
The Hotshots only have two games left on their schedule and are currently hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot as of writing.
Vernon Macklin (four games)
Averages: 21.0 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.75 blocks, 55 percent shooting from the field, 68 percent on free throws, 36.08 minutes per game
Macklin was solid, but he had to leave the team to play (with a guaranteed contract, nonetheless) in the National Basketball League over at China. The team cleared three of their first four games with him playing.
He debuted in a loss versus Phoenix by tallying 25 points, 17 boards and three assists on 9-of-15 shooting, then ended his PBA run by putting up 21 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a block in 42 minutes to help stave off Meralco, 81-79.
Curtis Kelly (two games)
Averages: 15.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 blocks, 45 percent shooting from the field, 21 percent on free throws, 37.8 minutes per game
There were already concerns about Kelly’s woes at the charity stripe even before he played a single minute, and it seems like it doomed his PBA stint. He was abysmal; he went 3-of-14 and Magnolia lost both games that he played in.
Kelly’s last game was forgettable. In 38 minutes, he missed out on a double-double (12 points, nine boards) and had six turnovers.
Justin Jackson (three games)
Averages: 20.0 points, 15.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, 45 percent shooting from the field, 36 percent on free throws, 39.2 minutes per game
Jackson looked promising, but he still didn’t fit the cut.
He was a willing passer (and even missed out on a triple-double), but his shooting struggles weren’t ideal for a Hotshots team that was already falling below expectations. Although he wasn’t as bad as Kelly from the free-throw line, his numbers were still very far from ideal – he hit only 10 out of 28 freebies. Jackson also couldn’t extend his shot to the arc to make opponents pay as he missed all six attempts in three games.
Magnolia went 1-2 with him in the fold.