MANILA, Philippines – Converge defeated Blackwater 98 to 90 on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig, thanks in large part to the brilliant shooting of Maverick Ahanmisi, who finished with a career-high 31 points and seven three-pointers to give his team an outright PBA Governors’ Cup playoff entrance.
With his career-best performance, which included four rebounds and four assists, Ahanmisi commented, “Everything just went in, but kudos to my guys, I couldn’t get going without them.”
Strangely, the veteran of the PBA for eight years had only three points at the half.
But, the Minnesota University guard from the Philippines had a fantastic second half, spearheading their breakout from a five-point lead en route to the victory that assured them of a spot in the quarterfinals.
With a 6 to 2 win-loss record, the FiberXers pulled themselves back within striking distance of the leaders after their previous matchup ended in a 116 to 112 loss to NLEX.
They can finish in the Top Four and have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarters if they do well in their final three games against Barangay Ginebra, Meralco, and Phoenix Super LPG.
The FiberXers handed Blackwater its eighth defeat overall and seventh in nine games as Jamaal Franklin had 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Jeron Teng chipped in with 17 points and 6 boards.
Aldin Ayo, the coach of Converge, stated that their performance away from the hoop was crucial.
To continually “destroy the boards,” as Ayo put it, “is a reminder, and that’s our offensive rebounding, and we’re able to convert some of those rebounds.”
Every time he wasn’t able to run, “we are having problems,” he continued, “we had to defend their post options and we dictated the tempo.”
The FiberXers did well at grabbing rebounds (51 to 40), and as a result, they had a 17 to 7 advantage in points from second chances.
Ahanmisi, who shot 11 of her 19 field goal attempts overall, was in the firing line.
He usually scores 18.8 points, pulls down 6.4 rebounds, and assists 2.8 times every game before the game.
Ahanmisi exceeded his own expectations by guiding the group to a clear playoff passage. (SB)
Scores at the end of the match:
Converge with 88 points
Individual Scores: Ahanmisi, 31, Franklin, 19, Teng, 17, Stockton, 8, Arana, 6, Ebona, 3, Balanza, 2, Racal, and Murrell each scored 1 point
Blackwater with 90 points
Individual Scores: Rosario 20, Glover 19, Ilagan 12, Amer 8, Banal 7, Hill 6, Torralba 6, Ular 4, McCarthy 3, Casio 3, Taha 2, DiGregorio 0, and Suerte 0.
21 to 14, 43 to 38, 78 to 66, and 98 to 90 in quarters.