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Converge, Magnolia clash, eye share of lead  

Abu Tratter: Solid debut as a Hotshot.

Games Wednesday

(Ynares Arena Pasig)

5 p.m. – Blackwater vs Terrafirma

7:30 p.m. – Converge vs Magnolia

Converge and Magnolia, two teams which made auspicious starts in the Philippine Basketball Association On Tour preseason tournament, clash and seek a share of the lead on Wednesday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig.

The FiberXers and the Hotshots collide in the main game at 7:30 p.m.  with the winner joining Phoenix Super LPG, which won its first two games, on top of the standings.

Blackwater and Terrafirma collide in the curtain raise at 5 p.m.

The FiberXers and the Hotshots  blew past their previous opponents.

Converge ran roughshod over Terrafirma, 119-82, on 26 May, in a game where Justin Arana and Jerrick Balanza scored 24 points each and three players wound up with double-double performances, including newest recruit Mike Nieto.

Arana completed a double-double showing as he pulled down 12 rebounds, while Nieto had 12 points and  12 boards. Jeho Ambohot came off the bench and tallied 11 markers on top of 11 rebounds.

“It was easy for them to adjust,” Ayo said. “Mike’s work ethic is impressive. He’s one of the earliest in the gym, maybe because of his background in college and that’s the reason why it’s easy for him to transition in a new system.”

The FiberXers will face a Hotshots squad that is coming off a 117-83 dumping of Blackwater.

Despite missing the services of Calvin Abueva, Jio Jalalon and Russell Escoto, who were nursing separate injuries, and Ian Sangalang, who was still recovering from illness, the Hotshots were still able to outplay their opponents with newest member, Abu Tratter, stepping up big, and back up center James Laput coming away with a double-double performance.

Abueva underwent knee procedure, while Escoto injured his ankle in practice.

Sangalang, on the other hand, is still on his way to recovery from a thyroid illness which affected his bloodwork, but was cleared to practice with the team.

Plucked from Converge in a trade which also involved David Murrell, Adrian Wong and a future first round pick, Tratter quickly blended well with the Hotshots and finished with 14 points and seven boards.

Laput, the 6-foot-9 center, also played his best game in Magnolia, ending up with 12 points and 12 boards.

Blackwater and Terrafirma are aching to bounce back from the sound beating they received previously and they will have to do that at each other’s expense.

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