Coach Aldin Ayo was unable to attend Converge’s 113-111 victory over San Miguel Beer in overtime on Sunday night in the PBA On Tour due to a personal problem involving his ailing mother.
The FiberXers were led by Franco Atienza in Ayo’s absence, and they overcame a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to pull off the stunning victory.
Later, Ayo claimed he needed to take care of his mother and was only able to follow the game on television and through the team’s Viber group.
Atienza was eager to acknowledge his coach, whose defensive strategy enabled the FiberXers to rally, triumph, and end their three-game losing streak in the preseason.
Atienza claimed that during the game, Ayo kept in touch with the team.
Converge ended a three-game losing streak without head coach Aldin Ayo thanks to a last-second basket from Balanza that was made possible by a steal and an assist from Alec Stockton.
The FiberXers improved their PBA exhibition series record to 2-3 (win-loss).
Jericho Cruz’s 41-point performance was undone by the FiberXers’ outstanding escape, dropping the Beermen to 2-4 and extending their losing streak to three games.
Terrence Romeo, who sustained an injury in the second quarter, did not play for San Miguel for the entirety of the second half.
With 17.7 seconds left in overtime, Stockton scored 23 points, including a three-pointer to tie the game at 111. Cruz was subsequently forced into a turnover by Stockton, which opened up a fastbreak for Balanza to score the game-winning basket.
Converge overcame a 16-point hole with Kevin Racal’s 16 points, 10 rebounds, and Balanza’s 15 points.
Jeron Teng scored six points during a 12-0 run by Converge in the third quarter to give them their first lead of the game, 79-75.
With 22.5 seconds remaining in the game, Cruz made a three-pointer to tie the score at 99 all and force overtime. At the last second, Rodney Brondial failed to make the game-winning three-point shot.
Meanwhile, in San Miguel’s PBA On Tour match against Converge on Sunday night, Terrence Romeo appeared to have worsened his hamstring issue.
Romeo participated in the game at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig during the first half but was not seen again at the San Miguel bench during the second.
He left the game with five points and the FiberXers, 113-111, in overtime, defeated five rebounds as the Beermen.
Later, San Miguel revealed that their best player was hurt.
All five of Romeo’s points came in the second period, which saw the Beermen lead 43-32 at the half.
He made 2-of-9 field goal attempts overall.
Romeo missed San Miguel’s previous match against Meralco, which the Beermen dropped in Tiaong, Quezon, 92-89.
Converge 113 – Stockton 23, Racal 16, Balanza 15, Arana 13, Nieto 13, Teng 12, Ebona 9, Zaldivar 5, Mendoza 2, Guinto 0, Ambohot 0, Luib 5.
San Miguel 111 – Cruz 41, Tuatuaa 15, Brondial 13, Lee 13, Bulanadi 9, Romeo 5, Saldua 2, Lazarte 0, Faundo 8.
Quarter scores: 15-24, 32-43, 65-69, 99-99, 113-111.