Jamaal Franklin can’t wait to see Converge grow into a ‘very special’ unit once they develop that desired cohesion in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup.
The former NBA cager already liked what he had seen in the two practices he’s had thus far since being brought in as a replacement for Ethan Rusbatch, so much so that he’s filled with excitement as the tournament progresses.
“After more repetition and more playing and more practice, I think that we’re going to be very special as a team, ’cause in just two practices we’ve looked good, the chemistry looked good with just two practices,” he said.
Franklin made his debut Thursday night and wasted no time impressing. He fired 42 points and collected 11 rebounds, eight assists, a steal, and a block in over 40 minutes of play to power Converge’s 130-115 romp of Terrafirma.
He played a role in the FiberXers’ third-quarter run, where they unleashed a telling 26-7 run to turn a seven-point deficit to a 94-82 lead.
All that despite the limited practice time, leaving head coach Aldin Ayo beyond satisfied — to the point that he may have secured his job already.
“I think we’ll go with Jamaal. Siguro, we’re going to stick with him. We’ll make sure na mag-fit siya doon sa mga ginagawa namin,” the youthful mentor said.
“Gusto namin lumalim at lumalim ang execution namin.”
Franklin, though, said that it won’t be possible had it not been for the help the rest of the FiberXers gave him prior and during the match.
“All the credit goes to the coaching staff in getting me to prepare for the game; my teammates for helping me play, giving me words of encouragement, and just helping me know the system and know the plays,” he said.
And as good as he was in his debut, the cager from Moreno Valley, California said that there remain lots of adjustments to be made.
Especially with the PBA style of play and its rules, in particular, after getting into a heated moment with Dyip forward Kevin Ferrer briefly.
“I was just trying to make sure they didn’t get into it. I didn’t mean any harm. As you could see, I was just trying to shake hands with No. 7. I didn’t want nothing. But it’s just getting used to the rules, knowing I can’t touch him,” he said.
“But moving forward, I’ve got to learn the league. I never got a tech for making sure it wasn’t a fight, but learning the league, I have to know that if something like that happens, I can’t touch. I’ll live and learn and it won’t happen again.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.