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Converge ends dry sell, stuns Terrafirma in OT

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STELLAR PERFORMANCE. Jamil Wilson shines in Converge’s 103-94 overtime win over Terrafirma on Wednesday night, December 13, 2023,  in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena. PBA PHOTO

In a much-needed triumph, Converge put an end to their dry spell, emerging victorious over Terrafirma in a thrilling overtime clash, with import Jamil Wilson delivering clutch baskets when it mattered most. The FiberXers secured a 103-94 win on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena.

Wilson’s stellar performance included a game-high 32 points, with a crucial stretch where he scored five straight baskets, sparking an 11-0 run in overtime. This surge propelled Converge from an 88-90 deficit to an unassailable 99-90 lead, ultimately sealing their first win of the season.

The victory not only snapped Converge out of a challenging 0-6 start in the season-opening tournament but also ended a total 10-game slide dating back to the previous season’s Governors Cup. Coach Aldin Ayo acknowledged the team’s frustration but emphasized the importance of persistence and hard work.

“It was tough. Everybody was disappointed, everybody was getting frustrated because of the results of our past games,” said Ayo. “But we just continued preparing, we just continued practicing hard.”

Import Jamil Wilson, who celebrated victory in only his second game since joining Converge, highlighted the significance of chemistry in basketball. Having a week to practice and better understand his teammates, Ayo’s system, and the PBA style of play made a substantial difference.

“Chemistry is the biggest thing in basketball,” stated Wilson. “When I got here… I didn’t know half of these guys’ names. So just having a week of practice under my belt… getting to know these guys, what they like to do, makes a world of difference.”

In contrast, Terrafirma faced its third consecutive loss, dropping to a 2-5 record and remaining winless in four games against the team that acquired the Alaska franchise.

Juami Tiongson led the Dyip with a rekindled scoring touch, contributing 28 points, while Stephen Holt added 14 points and five steals, and Thomas de Thaey recorded 12 points along with a game-high 18 rebounds. Javi Gomez de Liano chipped in a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, including a crucial triple that tied the score at 88-all, forcing the game into overtime.

Despite Terrafirma’s efforts, the toll of 25 turnovers, which Converge efficiently converted into 24 points, proved decisive. With formidable opponents like Magnolia, San Miguel Beer, Meralco, and Rain or Shine remaining in their schedule, the Dyip faces a challenging path ahead.

For Converge, the focus is on building on the momentum generated by this breakthrough win. Coach Ayo remains cautiously optimistic, acknowledging that there’s still work to be done but expressing hope for continued improvement.

“Hindi pa ako nabubunutan ng tinik,” insisted Ayo. “It’s still 1-6, so in a way, we are still disappointed, frustrated, and feel bad about the losses. But we’re not going to stop. There’s (still) hope. We’re gonna continue improving and we’re gonna continue building this team.”

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