PBA: Converge rookie Justin Arana eager for improvement after maiden conference
MANILA, Philippines–Converge was shown the door by defending champion TNT on Wednesday night during the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But Justin Arana emerged from the FiberXers’ dugout hardly looking like a dejected fellow.
“We’ve learned a lot this conference. And of course, this should serve as a learning experience for us, since we’re a new team,” the fourth overall pick of the Rookie Draft said shortly after the 116-95 blowout.
“We really just have to continue staying together. This has only been our first conference,” he went on.
Converge, the new club that took over the franchise of the disbanded Alaska Aces, had a shaky start to its maiden PBA tournament, winning just two of its first five games.
The losses the FiberXers suffered were also decent, considering their margins.
Jeff Cariaso and his charges got a groove going in the second half of the PBA’s centerpiece tournament, winning three of their next six matches to book a ticket to the playoffs.
And that should excite the club.
For Arana, however, it should motivate him to become better. The former Arellano standout, who was also designated by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as a Gilas cadet, said he is bracing for a tough second conference, where his 6-foot-7 frame will be tested even more.
“This has been a learning experience for me as well. The adjustment from college to pros had been different. It’s a huge adjustment, especially when it comes to physicality,” he said.
“So I guess I won’t be taking a break,” said the Bicol native, who is also one of the leading candidates for the Rookie of the Year award.
“I still have plenty to work on, like taking weights. And there are imports (coming) in. I have to toughen my body, especially with 6-foot-9 guys coming in,” he added.
“I’ll have to turn in extra work.”