Converge vs NorthPort recap
The FiberXers lost grip of a 17-point lead, but steadied the ship in the homestretch to book their second straight win for a 4-5 record.
Guard RK Ilagan scored five straight points for Converge in the endgame to preserve the win after the Batang Pier came to within 97-94.
Ilagan finished with a team-high 20 points, spiked by four three-pointers and a 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
“I just love the fight in this kid,” said Cariaso of the Converge point guard. “We needed him. We called on him, and he was ready.”
Until Ilagan came through with those clutch baskets, NorthPort was breathing down on the neck of Converge after Roi Sumang hit his lone trey for the night to trail by just three with 2:18 left to play.
“This is something that you need to expect,” said Cariaso of the Batang Pier’s repeated comebacks. “I think that’s something we’ve learned the last couple of games that no matter if you’re off or down, teams are going to keep fighting, keep pushing. So we have to be the same.”
Rookie Jeo Ambohot added 15 points and seven rebounds, Abu Tratter with 14, while Justin Arana had a double-double of 13 and 10 rebounds, while going a perfect 5-of-5 from the field.
NorthPort went down to its sixth straight defeat (2-6) and missed the services of top gun Robert Bolick, who was nursing a sprained ankle he suffered during its game against TnT.
The Batang Pier likewise lost big man Jamie Malonzo in the third quarter after being called for a flagrant foul penalty 2 for throwing the ball on Arana.
He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds and had eight in the third quarter that sparked NorthPort’s comeback.
Kevin Ferrer fired seven triples to finish with a game-high 21 points for the Batang Pier, who also got 20 points and 12 rebounds from Arwind Santos.
As a final point, Jeff Cariaso and the FiberXers extend their win streak as Topex Robinson and the Fuel Masters hope to end the skid.
Converge tries to strengthen its bid to make it to the quarterfinals as it faces Phoenix Super LPG on Saturday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The FiberXers play the Fuel Masters, a team also in search of a playoff berth, at 7:15 p.m.
On a two-game winning streak, Converge is in eighth place with a 4-5 win-loss record after it won over NorthPort, 104-98, last week.
The FiberXers are essentially in a must-win with NorthPort, Rain or Shine, and Phoenix Super LPG right behind.
The Batang Pier and the Elastopainters share ninth place with a 3-6 slate and are coming off wins.
Despite being on a five-game losing streak, Phoenix, which holds a 2-7 record, is still in the running for the quarterfinals.
Phoenix needs to win the game against Converge in order to stay alive. The Fuel Masters are coming off a 95-92 defeat against NorthPort.
Rain or Shine will seek to extend its winning streak in its match-up with winless Terrafirma in the first game at 5:15 p.m.
The Elasto Painters have won two straight games including a 107-90 victory over Blackwater last Wednesday, and are making a final push after they skidded to six consecutive defeats midway in the conference.
Terrafirma is out to finally win a game. The Dyip nearly did that on Thursday but lost to San Miguel, 109-108, in overtime.