NorthPort is cautious about the unwinning Converge

Dec 13, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – As soon as Northport plays along with the all-encompassing Converge squad in the final of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena, it ought to be prepared for a very difficult test.

Five games into the season, the FiberXers are still without a victory, as Batang Pier mentor Bonnie Tan has issued stern warnings to his team several times as they attempt to win two in a row and even their record at 4 to 2.

Tan stated that one important aspect of his team’s success is that it doesn’t focus on its next games, which are against Meralco on Sunday as well as San Miguel Beer on Friday.

Tan’s team recently defeated TNT, a formidable organization, 128 to 123 in overtime, which gives him some cause for optimism. Following that, he gave the players he coached two days off, in particular considering that he would be granted to requirement in order to counter the high-pressure defense and fast-paced style of play that the FiberXers are renowned for.

NorthPort, which at first has been coming off a heartbreaking 98 to 99 loss to Phoenix last Saturday, has yet another thing on their list of things they absolutely must do against Converge.

In addition to being the team with the highest three-point shooting percentage (53 in opposition to SMB as well as 45 when compared to the Fuel Masters), the FiberXers are also renowned for their ability to shoot 41.40 points per game on average. Coach Aldin Ayo is disappointed to see that his team only averages 12 points per game or 29 percent.

Tan is not particularly comforted by that truth. “To be honest, we’re not very good at three-point shooting,” he said, pointing to his team’s 25 percent (7.40 out of 29.40) three-point shooting performance.

Meanwhile: In their sixth game against Bossing, Sizzling Hotshots aim for victory

Except for a nail-biting comeback victory in a Manila, Philippines Clasico matchup against Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia encompasses not only winning games but doing so in a preeminent enforcing manner.

And that clearly establishes the Hotshots as the favorite against the Blackwater Bossing in the upcoming PBA Period 48 Commissioner’s Cup match at the PhilSports Arena.

Eight o’clock is the tip-off time. At the end of the first half of their elimination-round journey, coach Chito Victolero’s team is hoping for their sixth straight victory, while coach Jeff Cariaso’s team is hoping to snap a five-game losing streak.

With a winning streak that dates back to the preseason, the Hotshots have a lot of odds against them. They have been dominating the On Tour series, going 16 to 0.

Furthermore, despite star versatile forward Calvin Abueva being forced to sit out due to injury, they have been dominating the opposition.

The Hotshots, who are ably assisted by their veteran combined defenders Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, and Jio Jalalon, are not short on intensity or vigor.

The previous time they faced the NLEX Road Warriors, they were in a close contest until Jalalon oversaw an exuberant second-half onslaught that resulted in a decisive victory of 99 to 72.

In addition to James Laput, who scored a career-high 16 points, Tyler Bey (23 points), Barroca (19 points and nine assists), Lee (14), and Jalalon (11) who wrapped up with 11 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Naturally, Victolero remains uneasy. To be more consistent in their pursuit of their goals is what he wants the Hotshots to do above all else.

After a victorious season opener against the Converge FiberXers, the Bossing oddly dropped their next five games, indicating they have their work cut out for them.

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