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BARANGAY Ginebra import Vernon Macklin is shooting only 41 percent from the free-throw line (34 of 83) in his seven games so far in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the worst among all the imports that played this conference.
Yes, Macklin’s FT clip is even worse than the import he replaced at the Kings camp - Herbert Hill - who made just 43.8% of his charities (7-of-16) in three games.
However, believe or not, Macklin’s horrendous shooting from the 15-foot line is actually better than Barangay Ginebra’s two imports in the Commissioner’s Cup last season.
Chris Alexander, who suited up in the Kings’ first three games in last year’s tourney, made just six of his 15 attempts from the stripe (40%).
Alexander’s replacement, Jackson Vroman, did even worse, making just 30 of 93 attempts for an anemic 32.3%.
People, including some Ginebra fans, are shaking their heads after Macklin’s 9-of-23 (39%) free-throw shooting performance in the Kings’ most recent game, a 96-89 win over Barako Bull, last March 24. Vroman actually did worse in a game last year – just 1 of 12 (8.3%) in a 94-91 overtime win over Talk ‘N Text on March 18.
Perhaps Ginebra fans have been forgiving of Macklin because he’s also averaging 23.4 points, 17.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 shotblocks per game.
Not to mention he’s coachable and showing a big heart during games and far from any controversy (unlike two banished imports and a former import who could is still in jail as we are writing this).
And most of all, the Gin Kings have been winning – four straight now to be exact.
Oh and by the way, believe it or not (again), Macklin isn’t Barangay Ginebra’s worst free throw shooter on the team this conference as that distinction goes to rookie Chris Ellis who is making just 35.3% of his FT attempts (6-of-17).
Makes you wonder if all Macklin did during this Holy Week break - wherein he once called Metro Manila “a ghost town” on Twitter – was practice his free throws.
* * *
How does a player become good at making their free throws?
Aside from tons of practice, you have to start with good fundamentals and the basics.
So if you’re an aspiring young player, here are some of the basketball clinics I highly recommend for you to attend this summer.
First is the summer basketball camp of San Mig Coffee assistant coach and PBA great Jeffrey Cariaso, the only player in league history to make Mythical First Team and All-Defensive Team in all the PBA teams he played for.
Cariaso’s Summer Hoops Camp, for 10 to 16-year-olds, are on April 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 and 29 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Ronac Gym. He’ll be helped by some of the San Mig Coffee players and coaches from time to time in that camp. Registration is ongoing at Titan branches in TwoParkade, Ronac and Katipunan up to April 7. For details, interested participants may also call (02)-8470233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re in the southern Metro Manila or south Luzon area, there’s the two-hour and thrice-a-week summer-long camps of former PBA player and many-time national player Elmer Reyes which begin April 1 in Manila (YMCA near SM Manila), Pasay City (Southeastern College), Las Pinas (Cittadela Village) and Laguna (Dominican College).
Organized by the Integrated Sports Learning Academy (ISLA), these basketball summer camps, classified in three groups – basic, advanced and competitive – will be under the tutelage of Reyes, a member of San Miguel Beer’s 1989 PBA grand slam team and of previous national teams which won in the SEA Games and ABC (now FIBA-Asia) levels. He’s also the father of current Alaska rookie Raffy Reyes, just one of only 13 second generation players in the PBA’s 38-year history.
Inquiries are entertained at (02) 340.4762, (02) 389.1388, (0922) 880-7946. Just look for Nicko Isla. (They have taekwondo summer camps too, under Johanna Lacsamana–Ochoa, a former SEA Games bronze medallist, a certified PTA instructor and referee, and 1991 Philippine team coach, as well as swimming classes in most of those areas.)
And if you’re somewhere in the north of Metro Manila, former B-Meg assistant coach Dayong Mendoza’s Camp & Play, now on its 16th year, also begins its summer basketball camp sessions on April 5 at Don Enrique Heights in Commonwealth Ave Quezon City, April 8 at Project 8 also in QC and Sacred Heart in Tacloban City and April 20 at Double Play in Pasig City. Camp & Play’s contact number is 0908-1877210.
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