By Peter Atencio
The Converge FiberXers survived a close call against the Magnolia Timplados Hotshots, 111-109, to stay unbeaten after three games Sunday night in the 2023 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Fiber Xers squandered an 11-point lead in the last four minutes, but stood their ground to post the scrambling win and stay in the solo lead.
Jamaal Franklin chipped in a team-high 26 points for the FiberXers, including 12 in the fourth period.
Franklin was steady until the last 1:04 when his jumper in the last 1:04 kept the FiberXers ahead by seven, 101-104.
Eric McCrae banged in 38 points for the Hotshots, including two split charities and a jumper that allowed them to threaten, 109-111.
The FiberXers could have moved ahead from there, but Franklin turned the ball over.
Luck was still on Converge’s side, though, when McCrae bungled a three-pointer, and Fiber Xers cager Kevin Racal got the ball with his rebound play as time expired.
Maverick Ahanmisi delivered 22 points for the FiberXers, while Paul Lee added 22 points for the Hotshots, who picked up their first loss in their first outing.
The FiberXers played below their average of 126 points, after turning back NorthPort and Terrafirma by big margins.
“Can’t blame the players. Minadali nila ang shots nila. Kasi iyun talaga sistema namin. You can’t tell us to slow down because we’re not going to slow down. And we just did not have good looks on that last three-point shot,” said Converge coach Aldin Ayo.