Converge made it a debut to forget for Bonnie Tan after dealing NorthPort one of its worst losses in team history, 122-92, for a successful start to the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup, Sunday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Much of the attention was on the champion college mentor in his first test in the pro ranks albeit interim, but the FiberXers grabbed the headlines instead by registering their largest win yet in their young existence in the league.
“This [team] is different because this is almost five months or six months old na team. So, ‘yung preparations, andoon.” said head coach Aldin Ayo.
Maverick Ahanmisi starred in the victory with 29 points, 11 of which he made in the second period alone to preside over their 40-point explosion to establish a 66-46 lead at the break, setting up the one-sided affair in their favor.
It was the seasoned combo guard’s highest output in a Converge uniform, a solid performance that also saw him shoot 70.6-percent from the field and fill the stat sheet with nine assists, six rebounds, a steal, and a block.
“I credit that to the med staff and obviously the coaches for giving me that time to rest, also. They do a good job with healing my injuries and getting me strong to come back and play,” said Ahanmisi as he has just healed from an injury.
Six other players scored in double figures in the win. Import Ethan Rusbatch finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.
Jeron Teng flirted with a double-double as well after registering 16 points and nine rebounds. New guy Jerrick Balanza and Abu Tratter supplied 13 points apiece, David Murrell made 12, while Taylor Browne chimed in 11.
That kind of balanced attack was big thanks to their 27 assists, which also led to a 51.1-percent shooting clip from the floor — including 16 three-pointers.
“”Yan talaga ang laro namin,” said Ayo of how they shot the 3-ball. “We’re going to set the pace. Everybody knows it already. We’re going to set the pace, and of course, we’re going to hit those first available threes, kung meron.
“But, kung wala, we’re going to execute our schemes. We’re just going to look for the best shot available,” the youthful mentor added.
Converge will take on Terrafirma next on Thursday, 4:30 p.m., in the same venue, hoping of course to keep their winning ways.
NorthPort, meanwhile, was led by the 37 points and 12 rebounds of Marcus Weathers in the third-worst defeat in franchise history.
The Batang Pier (0-1) will look to redeem themselves on Thursday as well against the 1-0 Meralco at 6:45 p.m.
Converge 122 – Ahanmisi 29, Rusbatch 17, Teng 16, Tratter 13, Balanza 13, Murrell 12 Browne 11, Arana 6, Racal 3, Stockton 2, Ebona 0, Tolomia 0, Ambohot 0.
NorthPort 92 – Weathers 37, Tolentino 12, Calma 10, Munzon 9, Sumang 5, Chan 5, Salado 4, Caperal 2, Taha 2, Vigil 2, Ayaay 2, Balagasay 2, Zamar 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 26-25, 66-46, 88-69, 122-92
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.