December 06, 2023

Jois, Batang Pier foil Wilson's debut, keep FiberXers winless

CONVERGE's gamble with a new import would not result in an immediate dividend.

Venky Jois made sure of that by turning in a stellar performance in leading NorthPort past the FiberXers, 111-95, Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the PhilSports Arena.

Best exemplifying the Batang Pier's approach to the game, Jois notched 39 points, 21 rebounds, and six assists as the Batang Pier turned the game around right in the second quarter before really pouring it on in the second half.

It was the second straight win and fourth in six games overall for NorthPort while dealing Converge a sixth loss in as many outings.

"Just happy with my players," said winning coach Bonnie Tan. "Ang objective namin is to outwork 'yung Converge so at least as a team we were able to do that."

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Jois couldn't agree more with his coach. "For us, we're going to play harder than the other team," he said.

"From the first second of the game that's what we're trying to do," added the Australian-Indian. "We practice hard every single day, we're ready for the moment and it's great to get the win."

Arriving in the country only last Monday to replace Tom Vodanovich, Jamil Wilson put up 30 points and 13 rebounds but those were hardly felt by the FiberXers, who failed to match the Batang Pier's intensity when it mattered most.

NorthPort had other players who made more impact. Arvin Tolentino delivered 18 points, Cade Flores had his own double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds on top of four steals while Joshua Munzon added 12 markers and four dimes.

Even Fran Yu helped with 11 points, highlighted by two triples that helped the Batang Pier's surge from the game's sixth and last deadlock at 69-all and into an 83-75 lead heading into the last 12 minutes of play.

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Only Mike Nieto was the lone other Converge player in double figures with 16 points, anchored on four triples.

After trailing by 48-58 at the half, Converge did show some second half spunk by charging right back to knot the count. But as soon as Jois scored inside and Yu boomed in his triples momentum clearly shifted to NorthPort's side and it steadily built up from there with Jois' two-handed dunk making it 99-85. (NC)

The Scores:
NorthPort 111 - Jois 39, Tolentino 18, Flores 13, Munzon 12, Yu 8, Calma 6, Chan 6, Paraiso 4, Amores 2, Taha 0, Salado 0, Caperal 0.

Converge 95 - Wilson 30, Nieto 16, Stockton 9, Ambohot 8, Racal 8, Arana 7, Winston 6, Balanza 5, Delos Santos 4, Santos 2, Wong 0, Maagdenberg 0, Melecio 0.

Quarters: 27-27, 58-48, 83-75, 111-95