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Converge Keeps Winning Streak Alive with Victory Over Magnolia Hotshots

5 min read

JAMAAL Franklin lifted Converge FiberXers to a hard-fought 111-109 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots at the Ynares Center in Antipolo Sunday, January 29, cruising through the solo leadership in the ongoing PBA Governor’s Cup.

Franklin, who had been content with passing the ball in the first three quarters, scored 12 of his game-high 26 points in the final period and sealed the win for his team with a clutch three-pointer that made it 111-105 with just 64 seconds remaining.

Despite his team almost blowing a 14-point lead and almost suffering a meltdown in the endgame, Converge coach Aldin Ayo refused to blame his players. Instead, he praised them for hanging tough in the face of Magnolia’s pressure.

Ayo said, “We cannot blame the players… kasi minadali namin ‘yung tira. Ganu’n talaga sistema namin, eh. We’re not going to slow down. Breaks lang ng laro iyon. We just can’t turn it (off), na tipong we have to slow down (We cannot blame the players… because we rushed the rest. That’s really our system, eh. We’re not going to slow down. It’s just breaks of the game. We just can’t turn it off, like we have to slow down).”

He lauded his players for their resilience and determination in the face of adversity, despite Magnolia starting the game with an early 10-2 lead and putting pressure on Converge throughout the game.

Jamaal Franklin steered Converge FiberXers’ 111-109 win over the Magnolia Hotshots Sunday, January 29, in their PBA Governor’s Cup clash at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. PBA PHOTO

Erwin McCree scored four consecutive points to bring Magnolia close to Converge’s lead at 109-111, but Franklin’s passing mistake in the final moments nearly cost his team the win.

Thankfully, the FiberXers’ defense remained strong in the final 10 seconds, causing McCree to attempt a three-pointer that missed, effectively ending the Hotshots’ debut in the conference and securing Converge’s third consecutive victory.

“Good thing that we started practices early for this because what we did, our approach, was very general. Ginagawa namin na regular, iyon ang ginawa na naman natin because wala kaming reference about them, kung ano gagawin namin sa kanila (Good thing that we started practices early for this because what we did, our approach, was very general. We do it regularly, that’s what we did again because we have no reference about them, what we will do with them),” Ayo said.

Maverick Ahanmisi of Converge FiberXers drives against a Magnolia Hotshots defender during their Sunday’s PBA Governor’s Cup game at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. PBA PHOTO

Franklin received ample support from his teammates, particularly Maverick Ahanmisi who contributed 22 points, and Alec Stockton who recorded a personal best of 18 points while successfully defending against Magnolia’s feared backcourt. Franklin himself had 13 points and seven assists.

McCree had a strong debut in the PBA, contributing 38 points and 16 rebounds. Lee added 21 points, Jalalon contributed 13 points along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, and Abueva had 12 points before being disqualified with 9:25 remaining in the game.

As feared by Magnolia’s coach Chito Victolero, the team struggled to find their rhythm and committed a large number of fouls, leading to Converge making 34 out of 42 free throw attempts. Despite this, the Hotshots were able to stay in the game thanks to their seven steals and a 9-0 run, featuring a four-point play from McCree, which brought them to within a 6-point deficit.

The boxscores:

Converge 111- Franklin 26, Ahanmisi 22, Stockton 18, Melecio 14, Teng 11, Arana 8, Balanza 6, Tratter 4, Ambohot 2, Racal 0, Murrell 0.

Magnolia 109 – Mccree 38, Lee 21, Jalalon 13, Abueva 12, Escoto 7, Ahanmisi 5, Wong 4, Dela Rosa 3, Sangalang 2, Barroca 2, Dionisio 2, Corpuz 0.

Quarters: 28-23, 50-47, 84-73, 111-109

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