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HOOPS

Converge stays hot

Games Friday:

(Ynares Center)

3 p.m. – Phoenix vs Blackwater

5:45 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs TNT

Converge banked on its balanced scoring to overcome the firepower of import Jordan Williams and beat Terrafirma, 130-115, in the Philippine Basketball Association Governor’s Cup on Thursday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

With Williams hitting 30 points in the first half, the FiberXers threw their defensive blanket to limit his production and dictate the tempo en route to the victory.

Williams, a 30-year-old sharpshooter who went undrafted in the 2015 National Basketball Association draft, finished the night with 46 points, but it hardly mattered as the FiberXers went on to collect their second straight victory to gain an early lead.

The FiberXers paraded a new import in Jamaal Franklin, who had a more productive output than the previous reinforcement, Ethan Rusbatch.

Franklin, in fact, went head-to-head in a scoring duel with Williams, but left the game in the final 2:02 after suffering from cramps.

Still, the former San Diego State star finished with 42 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in an explosive and very impressive debut.

“We’ve got a great coach and he knows the X’s and O’s,” Franklin, who played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets before seeing action in China, said.

“The past two days in practice, he was all about the details.”

In a short notice, Franklin proved to be a great fit for the FiberXers’ fast pace system as he also drew solid support from the locals.

Five other players ended up in double figures for the FiberXers as guard Mav Ahanmisi came away with another steady performance with 16 points and nine rebounds while Justin Arana added 15 markers and six boards, the same numbers produced by Jeron Teng.

Aleck Stockton and Abu Tratter had 10 apiece for Converge.

Meanwhile, action swings to Ynares Center in Antipolo as TNT Tropang Giga goes for its second straight win and a spot on top of the team standings.

The Tropang Giga will take on Rain or Shine in the main game at 5:45 p.m. right after the 3 p.m. match between Phoenix Super LPG and Blackwater.

Despite having a decimated lineup after missing starting center Poy Erram and guards Ryan Reyes and Brian Heruela, the Tropang Giga were still able to reward their new head coach Jojo Lastimosa a victory.

Erram will be out six to eight weeks due to a meniscus injury, but several players were able to step up, the most notable was Roger Pogoy, the leading local producer in their 123-119 triumph over Phoenix last Wednesday.

The Tropang Giga will face a similarly banged up Elasto Painters who had just lost two key players even when they have yet to finish their first game in the tournament.

Santillan, the Elasto Painters’ top post defender, missed their first game after suffering a bad sprain in practice.

To make matters worse, Rain or Shine lost Gian Mamuyac, who twisted his ankle in their first game against Meralco last week and was unable to finish the match that saw the Bolts winning convincingly, 105-87.

 The Scores:

CONVERGE 130 – Franklin 42, Ahanmisi 16, Arana 15, Teng 15, Stockton 10, Browne 9, Racal 6, Balanza 4, Murrell 3, Tratter 3, Ambohot 0, Ebona 0, Tolomia 0

TERRAFIRMA 115 – Williams 46, Tiongson 18, Cabagnot 11, Ferrer 10, Ramos 10, Camcon 7, Cahilig 3, Gabayni 3, Mina 3, Gomez de Liano 2, Daquioag 0, Calvo 0

QUARTERS: 36-33, 68-71, 100-92, 130-115

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