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Kelly "thankful for the opportunity" as Magnolia import swap looms

We may have just seen the last of Curtis Kelly for now. PBA Media Bureau

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Magnolia thought Curtis Kelly will help the team sustain its good start in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

But after back-to-back defeats, the squad is changing directions.

As reported by Spin.PH's Gerry Ramos, the PBA Press Corps president, the Hotshots are set to replace Kelly with Curtis Jackson.

Once made official, Jackson, who played college ball at Cincinnati and recently played in Slovakia, will make his debut on Sunday night as they battle the Alaska Aces.

Despite the short-lived stint, however, Kelly showed his gratitude to the "Pambansang Manok".

"I’m very thankful for the opportunity," said Kelly on Wednesday night. "My experience has been pleasant."

He then compared his stint with Magnolia to his previous stint in France.

"The team that I played for in France is nothing like this. As far as management and the players, here, it's like a family that took care of me and looked out for me. I appreciate everything that they did for me," Kelly continued.

He also said that he will accept his eventual fate with the Purefoods franchise.

"I don’t know what the future holds for me there at Hotshots but... whatever they decide, I’m up for it," he added.

Kelly struggled in what would be his swan song, only making 12 points and nine rebounds against six turnovers as Magnolia fumbled in the end to the erstwhile winless Blackwater squad.

[Related Story: Walker's go-ahead slam sends Blackwater to first win vs Magnolia]

"I think they had a great defensive game plan which was off the pick-and-roll," Kelly commended Blackwater's defense. "Every time I would drive, Henry Walker will come help and they clog the paint when I like to work."

He then vowed assuming he gets a callback, "I'm definitely going to play better than I did.... If I ever get to come back, I want to show what I showed the first game (against Rain Or Shine) just minus the trouble at the free throw line."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno