PBA: Maverick Ahanmisi, Converge hope to sustain strong start
MANILA, Philippines—Maverick Ahanmisi turned in an all-around performance to help Converge to a rousing Governors’ Cup-opening blowout of NorthPort on Sunday night.
The crafty guard finished with 29 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds to help the FiberXers to a 122-92 drubbing of the undermanned Batang Pier.
But with a botched Commissioner’s Cup campaign still fresh in his mind, Ahanmisi, a one-time PBA champion at Rain or Shine, instead focused on what his club should do in order to sustain a strong start in this season-ending conference.
“We had a good [campaign] last conference, so we need to build on that,” he said. “Like what coach said, we just need to follow his strategies and the system that we have.”
“We have a lot of good pieces. We’re still a new team, but I think if we play hard our chemistry will show,” he added.
Converge compiled eight wins against just four losses in the Commissioner’s Cup to tab the No. 4 seed. But that also put the club on a collision course with the mighty San Miguel Beer which blanked the FiberXers in a best-of-three quarterfinal.
This first game sure may be a small sample size for Converge. But the production from the rest of the crew should really help in the club’s cause.
Jeron Teng had 16 points and nine rebounds, Abu Tratter chipped in 13 and six, while David Murell and Taylor Brown both tallied twin-digit scores.
New guy Jerrick Balanza, once an Aldin Ayo enforcer at Letran, pumped in 13 more versus his old team, while Kiwi import Ethan Rustbach had 17 that went with nine boards.
Converge ended up accounting for 16 triples and 27 assists after bucking a shaky start—which according to Ayo a validation that the FiberXers are on the right track.
“We started slow because there were some players who were looking for their points. But I think they’re just excited since this is our first game,” he said. “After that, everybody was executing. And we were setting up players to their strengths.”
“They’re familiar with our system already,” Ayo said of his wards. “But I told them that the preparations alone won’t be enough.”
“I’m always thinking about our deficiencies. But as long as we absorb everything we hope to do, (we’ll be fine),” he added.
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