PBA: Back under Aldin Ayo’s tutelage, Jerrick Balanza off to good start at Converge
MANILA, Philippines—Jerrick Balanza wants to make sure that coach Aldin Ayo made the right move in acquiring him after a solid debut for Converge at the expense of his former team NorthPort.
Acquired before the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup, Balanza produced 13 points and four rebounds on Sunday as the FiberXers rolled past the Batang Pier, 122-92, at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Balanza was an 18-year-old rookie at Letran in 2015 when Ayo steered his alma mater to an unlikely NCAA championship. Their time together at Muralla may have been short, but the young swingman feels there was a reason why the two ended up on the same team once more.
“Maybe he liked what he saw from my early PBA games before he came [to Converge] and that he wants me on his team because he felt that I could fit in his system,” Balanza said in Filipino.
But despite his familiarity, Balanza admitted that there’s still some learning curve given Ayo’s fast-paced offense and his attention to detail.
“The adjustment was really hard since I have been with the team for just two weeks,” he said. “Good thing my teammates and the assistant coaches are really open to any of my questions, because I know Coach Aldin’s system is very complex and very detailed.
“Until now, I’m still adjusting,” added Balanza.
Balanza was actually rumored to be heading toward Converge during the Commissioner’s Cup eliminations. But the trade never materialized, and Ayo denied any moves being done at that time.
Converge is Balanza’s third PBA team, with a chance to finally come out as a reliable player after some on-and-off performances for previous employers that included a championship with Barangay Ginebra in 2020.