PBA Philippine Cup

Converge ends ill-fated season with rare win, enters new one with hope as PBA Draft looms

Delfin Dioquino

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Converge ends ill-fated season with rare win, enters new one with hope as PBA Draft looms

STEP UP. Patrick Maagdenberg in action for the Converge FiberXers in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Heroes are aplenty as Converge wraps up its PBA campaign on a high note, denying TNT an outright playoff berth in the Philippine Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Ending a rather forgettable season with a rare win, Converge goes into the next one full of hope.

The FiberXers wrapped up their PBA Season 48 campaign on a high note as they denied TNT an outright playoff berth in the Philippine Cup, hacking out a 107-103 victory at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, May 1.

Heroes were aplenty for the young FiberXers, who concluded the conference with a 2-9 card and compiled a 3-19 record for the season.

Aljun Melecio churned out a season-high-tying 17 points, Justin Arana put up 15 points and 8 rebounds, while rookies Bryan Santos (15), King Caralipio (14), and Schonny Winston (13) also finished in double-digit scoring.

Even neophyte big man Pat Maagdenberg reached twin digits for the first time as he added a career-high 12 points in the win.

Those performances give Converge head coach Aldin Ayo something to look forward to next season.

“We’ve been very patient because we’re competing against teams which have been here for years. They have their own way of getting players that they need,” said Ayo. “We’re waiting for these young players to improve and mature.”

“Right now, what we need is time. We’re going to have a long break and we’re going to have a long offseason. Hopefully, our players improve.”

Aside from the development of their holdovers, the FiberXers aim to bring in new talent through the PBA Rookie Draft, where they are expected to pick first by virtue of being the team with the worst record this season.

“Hopefully, we get what we need,” said Ayo. “I hope we get someone who can help us.”

Maagdenberg provided Converge a much-needed offensive boost off the bench as he scattered 10 points in the final quarter, including the layup that gave his side a 100-85 lead with under 6:30 minutes remaining.

The Tropang Giga, though, refused to go out without a fight and cut their deficit to 99-102 off a 14-2 run powered by Calvin Oftana and Roger Pogoy.

But Winston saved the day for the FiberXers, sinking a crucial jumper that made it 109-104 and a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left that sealed the deal after a Pogoy three-pointer allowed TNT to pull within 103-105.

Oftana caught fire with game highs of 33 points and 12 rebounds, while Pogoy netted 29 points, but they lacked sufficient help from their teammates as the Tropang Giga saw their bid to make the quarterfinals hit a snag.

Falling to 5-5, TNT slipped to a four-way tie with Rain or Shine, Meralco, and Terrafirma for the fifth to eighth places.

The Scores

Converge 107 – Melecio 17, Arana 15, Santos 15, Winston 13, Maagdenberg 12, Fornilos 8, Delos Santos 7, Stockton 4, Andrade, Nieto 0.

TNT 103 – Oftana 33, Pogoy 29, Aurin 13, Khobuntin 11, Ponferrada 7, Castro 4, B. Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Ebona 2, Varilla 2, Reyes 0, Montalbo 0.

Quarters: 31-31, 57-52, 83-77, 107-103.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.