The 2023 PBA Governor’s Cup has just begun, but the Converge FiberXers already has everyone at the edge of their seats with thrilling performances only indicative of their determination to take their game to a whole other level this conference.
The young team is off to a rousing start with three stunning back-to-back wins, starting with two high-scoring feats over NorthPort Batang Pier, 122-92, and Terrafirma Dyip, 130-115, which both took place in the Philsports Arena, Pasig City last week. Converge kept the fire burning and won a third straight win in yesterday’s tough game against the Magnolia Hotshots, 111-109, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The young team opened the conference strong: setting the record for their all-time largest winning margin as a franchise in their 30-point beatdown against NorthPort Batang Pier. Veteran playmaker Maverick Ahanmisi spearheaded the team’s run-and-gun offense, finishing with 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds amongst an all-around effort for the FiberXers, who managed to pivot a tight two-point gap into a solid 20-point lead by halftime.
Converge finished with six other double figure scorers, among which were original import Ethan Rusbatch debuting with 17 markers, Jeron Teng with 16 points, and newly acquired Jerick Balanza contributing a crucial 13.
“What a perfect way to start our conference. Getting that W with our biggest winning margin yet — couldn’t be happier! So proud of our boys!” shared Converge CEO and Co-Founder Dennis Anthony Uy after the NorthPort feat. “Basketball fans can definitely expect bigger things from their Converge FiberXers this year.”
While the FiberXers bagged the opening game victory alongside Kiwi import Ethan Rusbatch, Converge Head Coach Aldin Ayo seems to have a specific vision for the team as he leads their bid to become championship contenders. This resulted in an early import change in the form of a former NBA cager Jamaal Franklin. The former NBA player finished with a full line of 42 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, a steal, and a block to aid the FiberXers in taking an early lead in the team standings.
“Jamaal played well. But of course, he’s still adjusting. Hopefully, ‘yung mga susunod na practices namin, he’ll be able to adjust doon sa sistema namin,” said the coach on the import’s performance. “Nonetheless, he played a good game. He’s making those extra passes to the locals. Good thing, ‘yung mga locals naka-convert din. I think we will stick with Jamaal.”
Picked 41st overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, Franklin played a total of 24 games for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Denver Nuggets. He last saw action playing for the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association. A team player, Franklin is quickly gaining recognition for his all-around efforts on the court. In only his first week in the Philippines and his second game with the FiberXers, the pro contributed a crucial 26 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and six turnovers.
Leading the team alongside Franklin against the Hotshots were local pros Maverick Ahanmisi and recent Player of the Game Alec Stockton, scoring 22 and 18 points respectively. Despite entering the court having had no basis for any specific strategies against Magnolia’s current play, the FiberXers were able to force the Hotshots to keep up with their pace.
After the thrilling triumph against Magnolia, Converge seized the solo lead in the season-ending conference. Converge (3-0) will try to notch a fourth straight win on Thursday, February 2, against Rain or Shine at 6:45 p.m. in the Philsports Arena, Pasig City.
Maverick Ahanmisi (29PTS, 9ASTS, 6REBS), Jamaal Franklin (42PTS, 11REBS, 8ASTS, 1STL, 1BLK), and Alec Stockton (18PTS, 4REBS, 2BLKS, 1STL) earned Player of the Game citations for the FiberXers’ first three games.
In for the long haul. Converge FiberXers Import Jamaal Franklin made an immediate impact on both ends of the floor, instantly earning praises from no less than Coach Aldin Ayo.
Mr. Quality Minutes. Alec Stockton delivers quality numbers vs Magnolia, posting a career-high 18PTS, diving and hustling for the ball in every possession.