Coach Jeff Cariaso of FiberXers works hard to get on track. Three games into its PBA debut, Converge has slowly but surely mettle as a highly competitive bunch capable of rocking the order.
Owing to a stunning 89-82 overtime win over perennial Philippine Cup contender Magnolia, the FiberXers could have gone 3-0 if not for endgame miscues and bailout baskets by Jayson Castro and Beau Belga in close losses to TNT with 86-83 and Rain or Shine 79-77.
No less than team owner Dennis Anthony Uy expressed pride with how the youth-laden troops of Cariaso are handling themselves in their PBA debut so far. Uy was in Antipolo last Sunday when the FiberXers had the Tropang Giga on the ropes but failed to complete the upset, no thanks to two missed free throws by RK Ilagan leading Castro’s go-ahead floater in transition.
“Breaks of the game didn’t go our way but the boys played hard until the end and other teams are seeing there’s no easy victory with us” said the Converge Manager. The match comes a day after Abu Tratter signed a new deal with Converge, but head coach Cariaso said he will not be available for the FiberXers’ game on Thursday. Another team that has shown its capability to drop the axe on the heavyweights is soaped-Blackwater.
Meralco Bolts eyes share of lead
While on the other hand, Coach Norman Black said the team was still searching for their fitness level in the victory against the Fuel Masters.
“Our conditioning needs to be a little bit better so we have a little bit more energy. But we will get it done. We will work it out,” said Coach Black.
Meralco goes for its second win after debuting with a 109-98 win over Phoenix last Saturday.
In that game, the Bolts fought back from a 16-point deficit to take the victory by 11.
One more win will move the Meralco Bolts to the top with the team leading San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra.
Previously, Meralco Bolts versus Phoenix Super LPG 109-98, Hugnatan fired 10 of his 17 points in the third period that saw Bolts come back from 77-61 deficit, en route to the win in their first game of the season. Chris Newsome also had a huge outing with 11 of his 21 points in the final quarter, while Aaron Black had 19 points in the Meralco win. Newsome enabled Meralco to pull away after scoring eight straight points for his team to grab a 101-92 lead after protecting a 93-91 lead. Hugnatan again nailed a three to increase the gap to 12 with 3:10 left, the first time Meralco held a double-digit advantage in the contest.
Last conference, the Bolts lost to the FiberXers’ predecessors Alaska when RK Ilagan drained a buzzer beater shot to win, 94-93, on Feb. 26, also at the Ynares Center, Antipolo.