MANILA, Philippines – TNT banked on a scoring onslaught from import Jalen Hudson to hand Converge its first loss in the PBA Governors’ Cup and claim a 128-122 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, February 8.
Hudson exploded for 56 points on a 21-of-31 clip in a blistering display that saw him outduel FiberXers import Jamaal Franklin in their scoring battle as the Tropang Giga nailed their second straight win to improve to 4-1.
Catching fire from the get-go with 20 first-quarter points, Hudson finished strong with 12 points in the final salvo, including an and-one play with a minute left that gave TNT enough separation to escape with the victory.
Hudson completed a three-point opportunity for a 124-115 lead and hit a free throw for his 56th point to help hold off Converge, which fell short of its comeback despite efforts from Franklin and Jeron Teng.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair through the first three quarters with the FiberXers seizing a 94-93 edge before the Tropang Giga took control behind Mikey Williams, who scored 8 points at the start of the fourth for a 103-97 lead.
Williams finished with 19 points, 11 coming in the fourth period, to go with 5 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy chalked up 18 points and 5 rebounds.
Hudson added 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal to embellish his outburst that marked the highest scoring output since Shabazz Muhammad dropped 57 points against Meralco in the Governors’ Cup last season.
While the usual suspects delivered for TNT, seldom-used Paul Varilla also stepped up with 12 points and 4 rebounds in nearly 20 minutes of action.
Franklin reset his previous PBA-high of 42 points with 47 points against the Tropang Giga, but Converge ran out of steam as they finally dropped a game after opening the conference with four straight wins.
The former NBA player also saw his 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals go down the drain in the losing effort.
Maverick Ahanmisi backstopped Franklin with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals.
TNT 128 – Hudson 56, M.Williams 19, Pogoy 18, Varilla 12, Castro 10, Oftana 5, Chua 3, Khobuntin 3, K.Williams 2, Marcelo 0.
Converge 122 – Franklin 47, Ahanmisi 21, Tratter 11, Arana 10, Racal 9, Stockton 8, Teng 8, Murrell 6, Balanza 2, Guinto 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarters: 35-32, 64-65, 93-94, 128-122.
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