MANILA, Philippines — Maverick Ahanmesi produced an all-round performance to help Converge pull off an opening upset of Northport’s Governors Cup on Sunday night.
The crafty guard finished with 29 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds to help. Batang Pier held on to drubbing the FiberXers 122-92.
But with the Commissioner’s Cup adventure still fresh in his mind, Ahanmesi, the one-time PBA champion in Rain or Shine, is instead focused on maintaining a strong start to the conference finals this season. What must their club do to keep up?
“We had a good one. [campaign] The last conference, so we need to build on that,” he said. “Like the coach said, we just need to follow his tactics and the system we have.”
“We have a lot of good pieces. We’re still a new team, but I think if we play hard, our chemistry will show.”
Converge compiled eight wins to just four losses in the Commissioner’s Cup to grab the No. 4 spot. But that put the club on a collision course with the mighty San Miguel Beer, who blanked the FiberXers in the best-of-three quarterfinals.
This first game could definitely be a small sampler for Converge. But the production of the rest of the staff should really help the club’s cause.
Jaron Teng had 16 points and nine rebounds, Abu Tritor had 13 and six points, while David Morrell and Taylor Brown both scored in double figures.
New boy Jeric Balanza, once an Alden Ave enforcer at Lateran, added 13 more against his old team, while Kiwi import Ethan Rustbach had 17 to go along with nine boards.
Converge finished with 16 triples and 27 assists after a shaky start — which Ayo says validates that the FiberXers are on the right track.
“We had a slow start because there were some players who were looking for their points. But I think they’re just excited because it’s our first game,” he said. “After that, everyone was hanging out. And we were arranging the players according to their strengths.
“They are already familiar with our system,” Ayo said of his wards. “But I told them that preparations alone will not be enough.”
“I always think about our flaws. But as long as we absorb everything we hope, (we’ll be fine),” he added.
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