Justin Arana delivered an impressive double-double performance, leading Converge to a dominant 123-95 victory over a depleted Ginebra squad in the 2023 PBA On Tour on Sunday night at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The sophomore big man from Arellano tallied an astounding 30 points and 15 rebounds, playing a pivotal role in towing the FiberXers to a resounding win.
Converge head coach Aldin Ayo acknowledged Arana’s excellent performance while also noting some minor defensive lapses.
“He played good, may mga konting lapses lang sa depensa,” Ayo said.
“This is just his second season so gusto namin ma-establish yung confidence niya and gusto namin maging solid siya don sa role niya sa ilalim,” he added.
With an efficient shooting of 12-out-of-21 from the field, Arana has been averaging 17.5 points and 12.3 rebounds in the preseason tourney, showcasing his potential and impact on the team.
Contributing to Converge’s triumph, Adrian Wong fired 26 markers, displaying his prowess from beyond the arc with an impressive 8-out-of-13 shooting from three-point range, along with five assists.
Although initially acquired by Converge for defensive purposes, Wong has proven his versatility, excelling in scoring opportunities whenever available.
“We got Adrian for defensive purposes. It just so happened na siya palagi nalilibre eh so rule naman namin yon na if you’re free, well you have to take those shots,” Ayo said when asked if this was the role that Converge envisioned for Wong.
Jeo Ambohot’s crucial three-pointer extended the FiberXers’ lead to 31 points, 118-87, with just 1:45 left in the game, sealing the fate of the match.
Ginebra’s bench struggled to keep up, scoring only 24 points compared to Converge’s 45 bench points, highlighting the latter’s depth and well-rounded roster.
Moreover, Ginebra’s 20 turnovers proved costly, doubling Converge’s 10, further contributing to their defeat.
Sidney Onwubere and Nard Pinto both contributed 19 points for Ginebra, while Jeremiah Gray added 17 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
Looking ahead, both Converge and Ginebra will face tough matchups on Friday.
Converge will take on NLEX, while Ginebra will battle against TNT, both games taking place at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. (Jose Gabriel Ignacio)
Converge 123 – Arana 30, Wong 26, Teng 18, Nieto 17, Racal 13, Ambohot 7, Mendoza 6, Stockton 6, Ebona 0, Guinto 0.
Ginebra 95 – Pinto 19, Onwubere 19, Gray 17, David 14, Gumaru 6, Pessumal 6, Aguilar 4, Salcedo 4, Aurin 2, Cu 2, Ubalde 2, Dillinger 0.
Quarterscores: 27-19, 52-47, 84-69, 123-95.