May 26, 2023

Arana tallies 24 points, 12 rebounds as Converge wallops Terrafirma

CONVERGE has little tinkering to do with its game this early in the pre-season.

This became readily apparent when the FiberXers showed sharpness on both ends of the court to wallop the hapless Terrafirma Dyip, 119-82, Friday at the start of their PBA On Tour campaign at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Justin Arana's 24 points and 12 rebounds led two other Converge players who turned in double-double performances while Jerrick Balanza also notched 24 points as the other prong of the team's inside-outside game that led to the rout which took shape as early as the second quarter.

Five triples from Balanza also headlined the FiberXers' 18-for-46 three-point shooting that is exactly what Converge has been working on since it started practices.

"Ngayon ang tinatrabaho namin this off-season 'yung perimeter shooting," said Arana, who shot 8-for-11 from the field and 8-for-10 from the stripes.

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Mike Nieto, acquired in a recent trade with Rain or Shine, also shone in his Converge debut with 12 points and as many rebounds while Jeo Ambohot frolicked in one of his very rare starts by finishing with 11 markers and 11 boards.

Team pillar Jeron Teng also notched 12 points while Adrian Wong, also just obtained from Magnolia, also slid nicely into his new team with 11 points in helping the FiberXers post as much as a 116-75 spread, only 1:57 to go in the game.

The work ahead is clearly cut out for Terrafirma as its usual problems of poor execution, ill-advised shots against the opponent's pressure and lack of board crashers reared their ugly heads anew for the team which only showed three wins out of 34 games the past season.

The Dyip made just 23 out of 71 field goal tries to their foes' 43-for-94 clip, had four more turnovers to the FiberXers' 12, and were terribly beaten in the rebounding department, 62-40, leading to a 5-20 disadvantage on second chance points.

Juami Tiongson's 17 points in an off-the-bench role were enough to lead the Dyip, which could only draw 12 points from Kevin Ferrer and 11 from Ed Daquioag.

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Those discrepancies led to Converge racing to a 57-32 lead in the second quarter mainly behind Arana, Wong and Teng.

Although Terrafirma managed to cut the deficit to 40-57 at the half, Arane and Balanza led a sustained charge that propelled Converge to an 85-57 bulge going to the final 12 minutes of play. (NC)