Sep 30, 2022

Explosive imports in focus as Hotshots, FiberXers mix it up

BOTH triumphant with tremendous lifts from their imports in their conference debuts, Magnolia and Converge take on each other Saturday in chase of a second straight win in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

The Hotshots and the FiberXers clash at 6:45 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in what is expected to be an explosive showdown between Nick Rakocevic and Quincy Miller.

Rakocevic thrilled almost everybody with a 45-point, 25-rebound juggernaut leading the Hotshots to a 100-92 win over the Terrafirma Dyip on Wednesday.

Five nights earlier, Miller had his own explosive PBA debut, collecting 38 points and 16 rebounds in their 124-110 blasting also of the Dyip.

The 24-year-old Serbian dynamo Rakocevic and the FiberXers' prized find, a former NBA player with stints with the Denver Nuggets and the Detroit Pistons, test each other's mettle, with each one hoping to get their team to a second straight win.

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Converge served Ayo a nice welcome-to-the-club present in their 14-point conquest of the Dyip where Miller led seven FiberXers scoring in double figures.

"First games have always been the hardest. You don't know what to expect. For us, it's just step on the pedal and full speed ahead, just keep running because that's our game," said Ayo.

The FiberXers' high-octane game clicked fully in the second half, where they extricated themselves from a 62-62 tie and broke away with a 62-48 exchange.

At the center of that furious assault was Miller, who delivered 23 in the last 24 minutes of play.

Converge's locals did their share, led by Maverick Ahanmisi, who produced 18 markers and seven dimes. Justin Arana (13), RK Ilagan (12), Alec Stockton (11), Jeron Teng (11) and recent trade acquisition Aljun Melecio (10) also helped out in scoring.

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But they now face a team who also loves to press on defense and run at every opportunity on offense.

Thus, the Magnolia-Converge tiff is only expected to be a battle. (SB)