PBA: Converge signs after Magnolia releases Keith Zaldivar; Against Phoenix, Anthony’s triple-double and Adamos’ 27 spark NLEX surge

Jun 11, 2023

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Converge recruited sophomore big man Keith Zaldivar with the intention of bolstering its frontcourt with size, depth, and more youth.

Magnolia’s decision to part ways with the former Adamson facility opened the door for the acquisition.

Hotshots Coach Chito Victolero confirmed Zaldivar’s departure from Magnolia, which acquired Fil-Am big men Abu Tratter and David Murrell in a trade with the FiberXers for Adrian Wong and a potential first round pick.

According to Converge assistant team manager CK Kanapi-Daniolco, Zaldivar has been signed for the upcoming PBA 48th season and might start playing with the team in the current On Tour.

During the official contract signing, alternate governor Archen Cayabyab, Kanapi-Daniolco, Coach Aldin Ayo, and Zaldivar’s agent, AC Ong welcomed the FiberXers’ new addition to the squad.

Magnolia selected Zaldivar in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, at number 12, but he was unable to earn playing time alongside the Magnolia residents Ian Sangalang and Rafi Reavis, as well as sophomore James Laput, who are also big men.

On the other hand, NLEX thrashed Phoenix Super LPG, 112-95, on Friday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, becoming the first team in the PBA On Tour to record a victory.

Ben Adamos scored five triples to finish with a game-high 27 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, while Sean Anthony sparkled with a triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists.

The Road Warriors took control of a close 28-24 game by outscoring the Fuel Masters 35-16 in the second quarter to take a 63-40 edge into halftime.

NLEX then backed it up with another 30-point performance, this time by a score of 34-22, to build a 35-point lead going into the fourth quarter, 97-62.

The Fuel Masters suffered their second straight defeat while the Road Warriors improved to 1-3, putting them in a four-way tie for first place with San Miguel, Northport, and Blackwater.

Dominick Fajardo of NLEX funded an additional 17 points, and Don Trollano and Hesed Gabo paid 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Next Friday at the same place versus Terrafirma, NLEX will try to make it two victories in a row.

On the other hand, Phoenix will attempt to end its slump when it plays Ginebra on Wednesday.

Sean Manganti scored 16 points, Jayjay Alejandro scored 17, and Larry Muyang led the Fuel Masters with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The former also contributed nine rebounds and seven assists.

The Scores:

NLEX 112 – Alas 3, Doliguez 3, Pascual 7, Galanza 8, Gabo 11, Trollano 14, Fajardo 17, Anthony 22, Adamos 27.
Phoenix Super LPG 95 – Tio 0, Rangel 2, Jazul 5, Atienza 5, Celda 7, Lalata 7, Soyud 13, Manganti 16, Alejandro 17, Muyang 21.

Quarter scores: 28-24, 63-40, 97-62, 112-95

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