MANILA, Philippines – The Converge FiberXers rode a big third-quarter run to stay unbeaten in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup off a 112-98 blowout of the winless Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the PhilSports Arena on Thursday, February 2.
Import Jamaal Franklin continued to flex his all-around skillset after tallying a triple-double of 25 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds with no turnovers as Converge rose to a 4-0 record for solo first place in the early stages of the conference. Rain or Shine, meanwhile, dropped to 0-3.
Rookie center Justine Arana came two points shy of his career-high with a 21-point eruption off the bench to go with 8 boards, while Jeron Teng and Jerrick Balanza scored 17 and 12, respectively, in the win.
Coming off a small 52-48 lead at the half, the FiberXers set the tone at the start of the third quarter with a 10-0 spurt to erect a 14-point advantage, 62-48, after a Teng floater at the 8:51 mark that came right after forcing an 8-second backcourt violation on the Painters.
Although Rain or Shine got back within single digits late in the third, 67-75, an ejection on head coach Yeng Guiao dampened the Painters’ fire, and Converge responded with a 15-4 run bridging the last two frames to mount a 19-point gap, 90-71, early in the fourth.
The FiberXers kept their foot on the gas until clutch time to peak with a 20-point separation, 107-87, and not even a last-gasp 11-2 run by Rain or Shine was enough to threaten Converge’s cruise to its fourth straight victory.
“It’s not our system, it’s the players. They’re the ones who work. Those performances the players get, they get from practice. After the practice, they still do extra,” said Converge head coach Aldin Ayo.
Rain or Shine import Michael Qualls led all scorers in the loss with 34 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists, while Rey Nambatac was the team’s only other double-digit scorer with 16 points and 6 dimes.
Converge goes through the wringer next as it takes on the TNT Tropang Giga on Wednesday, February 8, 3 pm, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine also faces a tall task in its first-win quest as it introduces the reigning conference champion Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, February 5, 6:45 pm, also at Araneta.
Converge 112 – Franklin 25, Arana 21, Teng 17, Balanza 12, Tratter 11, Stockton 10, Ahanmisi 7, Murrell 5, Tolomia 2, Racal 2, Guinto 0, Ambohot 0.
Rain or Shine 98 – Qualls 34, Nambatac 16, Mamuyac 8, Demusis 8, Santillan 7, Ponferrada 6, Torres 6, Nieto 6, Caracut 3, Asistio 2, Belga 2, Ildefonso 0, Borboran 0, Yap 0, Clarito 0.
Quarters: 29-21, 52-48, 84-69, 112-98.
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.