JALEN Hudson scattered a conference-high 56 points as TNT sent previously unbeaten Converge crashing back to earth with a 128-122 victory Wednesday in the PBA Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mikey Williams, Roger Pogoy and even Paul Varilla also left their imprint on the victory and enabled Hudson to ultimately outshine Converge counterpart Jamaal Franklin in the battle that lived up to its pre-game expectations of being a tightly fought one.
Franklin also actually surpassed his own average with 47 points but was visibly running on fumes in the stretch after taking time to collar 14 rebounds and issue seven assists in 44 minutes of play.
Still, it was only after a 10-0 surge, touched off by Varilla's three-point play, for a 116-104 count did the Tropang Giga get firmly on track toward their second straight win and eventually tie the FiberXers on similar 4-1 records.
"Just tried to be aggressive. My teammates gave me the confidence, and going to it I know it was a big game for us and for them as well," said Hudson, who anchored his production on six triples and a variety of strong drives to the basket while also hauling down 12 rebounds.
His team managing to hold up to Converge's pressure and up-tempo style of play, especially in the fourth quarter, pleased TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa.
"I just thought that the guys fought hard. It may not be indicated in the score but every point we got we earned it and every point that they got also," said Lastimosa. "The thing that we were pissed about was when they go coast-to-coast with a layup. But we kinda adjusted a little bit at the end."
Lastimosa also lauded Hudson's performance that was the best in the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned franchise since Jerod Ward dropped 61 in the 2001 Commissioner's Cup while the team was still known as Mobiline.
"I know what he's capable of doing. He's as quick as anybody in the league and he's athletic," said Lastimosa of the 26-year-old. "If he goes past that main guy, I don't care who's in there. There's no seven-footer in this league to stop him."
Mikey Williams did his part with 19 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter, and Pogoy added 18. Varilla, who came into the game averaging just 0.5 points, chipped in 12 aside from taking on the task of stifling Franklin.
Varilla also figured prominently in TNT's fightback from an 82-91 deficit and pulled it within just 93-94, going to the last 12 minutes of play.
Maverick Ahanmisi came off the bench to emerge as chief backup to Franklin with 21 points, eight boards and four dimes while Abu Tratter and Justin Arana combined for 21 points and eight rebounds. (NC)
TNT 128 - Hudson 56, M.Williams 19, Pogoy 18, Varilla 12, Castro 10, Oftana 5, Chua 3, Khobuntin 3, K.Williams 2, Marcelo 0.
Converge 122 - Franklin 47, Ahanmisi 21, Tratter 11, Arana 10, Racal 9, Stockton 8, Teng 8, Murrell 6, Balanza 2, Guinto 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarters: 35-32, 64-65, 93-94, 128-122