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Arana repays Ayo’s trust

Justin Arana repaid Aldin Ayo’s trust by knocking down the game-winning basket during Converge’s 102-101 victory over Rain or Shine in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup late Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Arana said the play was truly designed for him, which is a testament to the amount of confidence that FiberXers coach Ayo has on him.

“Credit goes to coach Aldin since he really made the play for me,” said Arana, one of the league’s most promising big men.

“I am thankful because he already has a lot of confidence in me even if I am just a rookie.”

With Converge down by one, 100-101, Ayo mapped out an inbound play for Arana against a smaller Santi Santillan in the final 15.1 second.

The 6-foot-6 Arana caught the ball in mid-air before making a sweet spin move to escape from Santillan’s defense. Then, he banked home the short stab to complete the game-winner.

Ayo admitted that the play was really meant for the rookie from Arellano University.

“Yes, it was,” Ayo said when asked if the play was really for Arana.

“Actually, it was a botched play. Justine was not able to hit the screen but the purpose of the inbound was to isolate Justin inside the paint.”

“Good thing Justine was able to convert it.”

Aside from claiming the scalp of noted Rain or Shine mentor Yeng Guiao, the victory also extended Ayo and the FiberXers’ amazing run to seven to make it to the quarterfinals of this import-flavored conference.

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