David Murrell did admit that facing his former team gave him an added push as Converge battled NLEX in a PBA Philippine Cup affair, Thursday night.
And it definitely showed with the way he performed. The Fil-Am guard fired 21 points, leading the FiberXers to the 112-106 victory that snapped their two-game losing skid while dealing the Road Warriors their second straight defeat.
“I wouldn’t say it was revenge, but for sure, extra motivation,” he said during the postgame presser at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“It just feels good to beat my old team.”
Murrell was made the 20th overall pick by NLEX in the 2021 Rookie Draft, but hardly saw action with the ball club. In fact, he was even assigned to the CAVITEX Braves during the inaugural PBA 3×3 season.
And just last May, the MVP-owned team decided to let him go, trading him alongside Tyrus Hill in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick.
Now, the former UP Fighting Maroon is enjoying an exposure he’s never had with his old team, which he’s definitely taking advantage of.
“I just always believed that you have to stay ready at all times,” said Murrell, who shot 74 percent from the field against his old team.
“Obviously, I didn’t get that opportunity at NLEX. But once I was started or got traded to Converge, Coach Jeff [Cariaso] just gave me the opportunity and I felt like I was all ready for it,” he furthered.
It wasn’t just Murrell, though, who showed up against NLEX. Hill also did, as if he showed how much the team missed out on by sending him away.
The La Salle product was actually the Road Warriors’ seventh overall pick in the recent draft but included him in the trade package days after the proceedings.
He finished with a career-high 18 points on an 8-of-9 clip and seven rebounds as he played a key role in their fourth quarter explosion to put away the opposition for good after catching up in the third from being down 12.
Hill, however, had none of that extra motivation whatsoever like what Murrell had, saying that he simply wanted to get home with the W.
“Nah, not really ’cause I never met any of them,” he said with a chuckle. “So I wasn’t really here for all that. It was just a quick trade so that was cool.
“It is what it is. I just really wanted to win this game for the team, you know, for the fans, and for my family back at home.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.