MANILA, Philippines – Tom Vodanovich made a good account of himself in his brief stint with Converge that head coach Aldin Ayo feels the New Zealand standout deserves another run with the FiberXers.
Ayo said Vodanovich fits the bill of what he looks for in a foreign reinforcement: a no-frills player who can get things done while playing within the system.
“If he returns, we’re planning to make him our resident import,” said Ayo in a mix of Filipino and English.
“Not only will he perform, our locals will learn a lot from him – how he approaches the game, how he uses his skill set. The experience that he can impart to our young bigs, that is a big thing.”
Ayo wanted to bring in Vodanovich at the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup, but his commitment to the New Zealand Breakers in the National Basketball League in Australia prevented him from joining Converge earlier.
The FiberXers tapped another New Zealand stalwart in Ethan Rusbatch only to replace him after just one game, with the team signing former NBA player Jamaal Franklin.
Franklin led Converge to wins in five of his first seven games as he posted impressive conference averages of 34 points, 11.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.6 blocks.
But the relationship between Franklin and the FiberXers turned sour after three straight losses to end the elimination round and the franchise sent him home following a questionable performance where he refused to shoot.
With Franklin given the pink slip, Converge turned to its original choice: Vodanovich.
Vodanovich left a lasting impression in his lone appearance for the FiberXers as he finished with 39 points and 10 rebounds, albeit in a 121-105 loss to San Miguel that booted Converge out of the quarterfinals.
“If it is an import-laden conference, you got to be able to get the import that fits your system. Right now, we were able to get it. The only problem was it was too late,” said Ayo.
Ayo added he has been keeping an eye on Vodanovich even before the import joined the FiberXers.
“Tom plays with no fuss, he just fights. And the good thing is he is fundamentally sound,” Ayo said. – Rappler.com
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