By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Converge FiberXers are having one of their best starts in PBA history after racking up its fourth-straight win in the ongoing 2023 PBA Governor’s Cup.
Former NBA talent and current Converge import Jamaal Franklin stole the limelight after tallying an insane triple-double performance of 25 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds during the FiberXers’ 112-98 victory over the Rain or Shine Elastopainters last February 2, 2023, held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Franklin quickly seized full control of the game after dictating Converge’s pace which helped them take the early lead in the game.
The ex-Memphis Grizzlies scorer did it all in the first half, scoring difficult step-back three-pointers while also setting up his teammates who ballooned their lead to double-digits midway through the second period.
Franklin exposed Rain or Shine’s slow response in their pick-and-roll offense and fed the rolling Justin Arana who was feeling it from the shaded lane.
The FiberXers started to pull away in the last five minutes of the third quarter spearheaded by Franklin’s offensive showcase.
Franklin went hot in the most perfect time in the third quarter and hit a couple of three-pointers including a heat-check step-back trey over the out-stretched arms of Rain or Shine’s import Michael Qualls.
That huge trey swelled Converge’s lead to 13 points, 80-67, with 1:56 remaining heading into the final quarter of the game.
Converge then went unconscious to kick off the last frame and received much-needed baskets from Arana who scored four-straight points in back-to-back possessions.
Despite Qualls’ tremendous effort in the offensive end that kept Rain or Shine fighting, Converge’s collective effort was too much and prevented the Elastopainters from trimming their deficit to a single digit.
“‘Yung mga ganyang performance ng players, nakukuha nila yan sa mga extra nila eh. Not necessarily during practice, but we always encourage them to do the maintenance, and after practice, nag-skills pa tong mga ‘to,” said Converge head coach Aldin Ayo.
Arana, who became the recipient of Franklin’s dazzling pocket assists in the pick-and-roll, chipped in 21 big points and eight rebounds.