UPDATE: Venue for this Saturday’s game (July 16) versus the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters has been moved to Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
Last week, the Converge FiberXers snagged their first winning streak with back-to-back victories over the NLEX Road Warriors, 112-108, and NorthPort Batang Pier, 104-98, in the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup held at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The consecutive wins put an end to Converge’s two-game slump against conference-leading teams San Miguel Beermen and Barangay Ginebra. The FiberXers once again proved themselves to be one of the league’s most promising teams as the two victories set their win-loss record to 4-5 overall and boosted their chance for a spot in the playoffs.
“Being able to bounce back from two tough losses is really hard. You have to come in with your perspective on point,” said Converge head coach Jeff Cariaso after the team’s comeback victory against NLEX. “I think that’s what was really impressive with the guys tonight – their ability to just bounce back.”
Indeed, it seems that defeat does not at all faze this team of young and fresh players as the FiberXers only ever continue to get back up and further showcase what they’re truly capable of in each passing game, displaying their #NeverBackDown attitude.
Despite being the league’s youngest franchise, the Converge hoopers prove time and time again that they definitely are a true force to be reckoned with – a team of skilled pros that will only continue to break their own barriers and push past their own limits.
From the opening game down to the last leg of the conference, the FiberXers has grown exponentially in their individual athleticism as well as their chemistry and teamwork on court. In spite of cornerstone player Jeron Teng’s absence due to a hip injury mid-conference, most if not all of Converge’s brilliant players took the chance to step up and prove themselves to be a valuable player on the team.
One of them is standout sophomore forward David Murrell who scored a career-high of 21 points and earned the title of Best Player of the Game for the second time in a row after their feat against NLEX.
Rookie Tyrus Hill also shone bright and aided in their victory by adding 18 points, making all but one of his nine attempts from the field. Known for his crazy jumps and morale-boosting dunks, he was also most recently acknowledged as one of the most athletic guys in the league:
Source: Jamie Malonzo and Tyrus Hill are the two most athletic guys in the PBA imho with Cjay Perez a close third.
Second-year guard Taylor Browne also stepped up as a reliable player and continuously impressed the crowd with his steady threes, adding 15 markers overall.
Not to mention the team’s most recent Player of the Game, the unforgettable ‘Shotgun’ RK Ilagan whose on-court brains and sheer skill both on offense and defense has earned him multiple nicknames such as ‘Shotgun’, ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Mr Clutch Guy’.
Ilagan proved to be the team’s stabilizer with his game-finishing threes as well as his incredibly agile passes that enabled other players to show off their strengths and score points crucial to the team’s victory.
“I just love the fight in this kid,” said Cariaso of the Converge point guard. “We needed him. We called on him, and he was ready.”
The young pro finished with a team-high 20 points and scored five of the team’s final seven points that led to their victory against NorthPort. Rookie Jeo Ambohot, Abu Tratter, and Justin Arana played great defense against Batang Pier and all chipped in at least 10 points each as well.
“We know going into this last stretch that our backs are against the wall. So like I said in the last game—first two tests, we passed. But we have two big tests in Phoenix and Blackwater [coming up],” said Cariaso. “We just want to continue rolling, improving what we need to improve on and focus knowing that these next two (assignments) are going to be a battle.”
The team is set to play their last two games in the coming week: Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters this Saturday, July 16, 7:15 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena and Blackwater Bossing on Wednesday, July 20, 3:00 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the finish line in sight and a spot at the quarterfinals within reach, the crowd of purple will continue to cheer: Let’s go Fiber! Let’s go!