In a thrilling tune-up match on Sunday, October 15, at the Gatorade Hoops Center, Converge relied on the duo of rookie Deschon Winston and Mark Tallo to secure a 120-111 victory over Rain or Shine.
Winston dazzled with 23 points, 14 of which came in the third period, while Tallo contributed 24 points and seized control in the final quarter to complete the comeback win in the 2023 Converge Pocket Tournament.
The FiberXers showcased their second-half prowess, overturning a halftime deficit of 57-53. Import Thomas Vodanovich notched a double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds, elevating Converge to a second consecutive win and providing coach Aldin Ayo with a fitting birthday gift as he celebrated his 46th year.
In contrast, Rain or Shine faced their first loss in the tournament, bringing their record to 1-1. Coach Yeng Guiao opted not to field import DaJuan Summers in the second half. Despite this decision, Summers, a former NBA player, emerged as the top scorer for Rain or Shine with 21 points, including 13 in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Blackwater staged a remarkable comeback, overturning a significant first-half deficit to defeat Phoenix, 103-96. Import Chris Ortiz carried the Bossing with 28 points, 13 of which were crucial in the pivotal fourth quarter, where Blackwater outscored Phoenix 30-14 to reverse the game’s outcome.
In the second period, Blackwater trailed by as many as 40-21 before Ortiz’s heroics paved the way for their comeback victory. Ortiz, who had previously represented Puerto Rico in the recent FIBA World Cup, also contributed 14 rebounds and three assists. Rey Suerte added 16 points, while Troy Rosario delivered 14 for the Bossing, evening their record at 1-1.
Despite the standout performance of rookie Ricci Rivero, who tallied 28 points, and the double-double effort of import Jonathan Williams III with 20 points and 14 rebounds, the Fuel Masters suffered their second consecutive loss.
The 2023 Converge Pocket Tournament will conclude with its final day on Tuesday. The intense battles in the pocket meet have provided fans with a glimpse of the exciting basketball action to come.