Aldin Ayo finds perfect import in Jamaal Franklin | Inquirer Sports
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Aldin Ayo finds perfect import in Jamaal Franklin

/ 05:20 AM January 27, 2023
New Converge import Jamaal Franklin in the PBA Governors' Cup. –PBA IMAGES

New Converge import Jamaal Franklin in the PBA Governors’ Cup. –PBA IMAGES

Jamaal Franklin’s debut performance on Thursday was enough to convince coach Aldin Ayo that he has found an import that can lead Converge to a competitive run in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup.

“I think we’ll stick with Jamaal,” Ayo said after Franklin fired 42 points in the 130-115 win over the Terrafirma Dyip at Philsports Arena in Pasig City that gave the FiberXers a 2-0 start in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

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Franklin MADE an immediate impact on the Converge side as a replacement for Ethan Rusbatch, accounting for seven of the FiberXers’ 16 triples while falling short of a triple-double by adding 11 rebounds and eight assists in 40 minutes.

That despite the former NBA player having just two practices when the FiberXers decided to make an import change after just one game with Rustbach, who had 17 points and nine rebounds last Sunday in a rout of the NorthPort Batang Pier.

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And Franklin believes a little more familiarity can open the door for Converge to make a big leap after a quarterfinal appearance in Ayo’s maiden PBA coaching stint in the Commissioner’s Cup.

“I’ve only had two practices with the team, so I still need to learn,” Franklin said. “Obviously, details make us win the game, like coach says. After more repetition and more playing and more practice, I think we’re going to be very special as a team, because we’ve looked good and we were able to build chemistry with just two practices.”

Despite being impressed with Franklin, Ayo still wants things to get better.

“We’ll make sure that he would be a great fit to things we’re executing,” said Ayo. “We can do this during the eliminations, but we have to work on our game plan. Hopefully, when the playoffs come we can perform better.”

One of the aspects Ayo sees more room for improvement is by complementing Converge’s high-octane offense with stellar defense.

Top scorers

The FiberXers are averaging 126.0 points through the first two games of the season-ending conference, with Maverick Ahanmisi, Jeron Teng and rookie center Justine Arana among the top scorers.

But in the process, the FiberXers allowed their opponents to give up 103.5 points, almost at par with the 106.2 average they gave up for third highest in the midseason tourney.

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Converge had trouble stopping Terrafirma import Jordan Williams, who erupted for 30 of his game-high 46 points in a high-scoring first half which ended with the FiberXers trailing, 71-68.

Williams cooled off after the break, something that contributed to Converge taking control the rest of the way.

Next up for Converge is a tough test against Magnolia in Antipolo City.

“We won’t stop until we’re able to improve our defense,” said Ayo.

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TAGS: aldin ayo, Jamaal Franklin, Philippine Basketball Association
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