Converge stands ground in endgame, deals SMB its first loss

CONVERGE dealt San Miguel its first defeat, 107-103, on Saturday to grab its fifth victory in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Jamaal Franklin and Maverick Ahanmisi nailed crucial shots in the end game while Justin Arana was a force on defense late as the FiberXers pounced on the absence of June Mar Fajardo in the final minutes due to six fouls.

By bouncing back from their loss to TNT in the previous game, the FiberXers improved to 5-1 (win-loss) and moved to a tie for second place in the team standings behind the Tropang Giga and San Miguel, which lost for the first time under coach Jorge Gallent.

“It’s a big, morale-booster for us. But we have to handle this win very well,” said Converge coach Aldin Ayo.

Franklin topscored with 37 points behind a 6-of-14 shooting from threes. The former NBA player also stepped up with the game on the line, hitting a tough lay-up with 50.3 seconds left giving Converge a 104-101 lead.

Ahanmisi also drained a three from the right corner, allowing the FiberXers to grab a 102-98 lead with 1:38 remaining.

On the other hand, Arana had two blocks in the endgame to keep the explosive SMB offense under control.

Cameron Clark led the way with 30 points and 12 rebounds while CJ Perez added 28 points as the two players were left to carry the load for the Beermen with Fajardo hounded by foul trouble.

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