MANILA, Philippines – Converge coach Aldin Ayo hinted at looming changes as the FiberXers ended the elimination round of the PBA Governors’ Cup on a skid following a loss that saw an odd showing from Jamaal Franklin.
Fresh from a 57-point explosion against Meralco, Franklin scored a conference-low 4 points in a 120-101 defeat from Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, March 5.
The former NBA player led the league in scoring with 37.3 points and averaged 23.1 shots prior to the game but attempted five measly field goals against the Gin Kings as he passed on offensive looks he normally exploits.
“It is either he takes 36 or he takes five. I cannot understand,” said Ayo in a mix of Filipino and English. “For sure there will be changes. I cannot say what it is, but for sure, there will be changes.”
Ayo, though, refused to give a definitive answer when asked if an import switch is part of the changes he talked about.
“It is not my decision to make. It will be the decision of the management,” Ayo said.
With Franklin not his usual self, Converge leaned on its locals as it tried keep in step with the Gin Kings, who coasted to the rout as Jamie Malonzo, Justin Brownlee, and Christian Standhardinger combined for 85 points.
Maverick Ahanmisi carried the scoring load for the FiberXers with 24 points, while Jeron Teng (12), Justin Arana (11), David Murrell (11) and Alec Stockton (10) all scored in double figures.
Still, the efforts of the Converge locals were not enough as they wrapped up the elimination round with three straight losses and fell to 6-5.
But Ayo said the FiberXers are hardly deflated despite absorbing their most lopsided defeat of the conference.
“Our morale remains high because we know what the problem is, even the locals know what the problem is,” Ayo said. “And we can do something about that problem.”
“What hurts is if you’re losing and you have no idea what the problem is. But in our case, we’re losing but we know the problem.”
Individually, Franklin has been a beast as he averages 34 points, 11.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.7 blocks – all in the top 10 – since coming in as a replacement for Ethan Rusbatch.
Franklin is also the only player with multiple 50-point performances this conference as he dropped 53 points against NLEX and 57 points against Meralco, although both games ended in losses. – Rappler.com
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