MANILA, Philippines – Converge has found its replacement for Jamaal Franklin.
The FiberXers signed New Zealand forward Tom Vodanovich before the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs after giving Franklin the pink slip following a rather bizarre end to the elimination round.
Averaging 37.3 points on 23.1 shots in his first nine games, Franklin scored just 4 points on only 5 attempts as he appeared to deliberately pass on shots he normally takes in a 120-101 loss to Barangay Ginebra last March 5.
Converge wrapped up the elimination round on a three-game skid and finished with a 6-5 record for the seventh seed.
FiberXers head coach Aldin Ayo hinted at changes after that questionable Franklin performance and the team pulled the trigger by acquiring the services of Vodanovich, their original choice for the season-ending tiff.
Ayo said at the start of the conference that they wanted to bring in Vodanovich, but his unavailability resulted in the team tapping Ethan Rusbatch, another New Zealander.
Rusbatch played just one game before Franklin took his place.
Now that Vodanovich is free after ending his stint with the New Zealand Breakers in the National Basketball League, he is expected to reinforce Converge in the quarterfinals against twice-to-beat San Miguel on Sunday, March 19.
Vodanovich averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in four games for the Tall Blacks in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, including a 20-point, 10-rebound outing in an 88-63 romp of Gilas Pilipinas.
An NBL champion with the Sydney Kings last year, Vodanovich also won MVP in the New Zealand NBL in 2020. – Rappler.com
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