By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA – Converge moved to the top of the PBA Governors’ Cup standings after escaping with a 111-109 win against Magnolia at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Sunday night.
Clutch moments from Jamaal Franklin turned out to be the cushion the FiberXers needed to frustrate several Hotshots’ attempts to steal the match.
With Converge up, 106-104, Franklin trapped Rome Dela Rosa into fouling him while taking a three-pointer.
The import went 2-for-3 to raise the lead to four with 2:03 left.
Paul Lee missed out on bringing the gap back to two as he split from his own trip to the charity stripe before Franklin sank a high-arching triple with 1:04 remaining for a 111-105 Converge cushion.
Eric McCree, however, made four straight points to cut the lead to two with 30.9 seconds left even as the Magnolia defense forced Franklin to a crucial turnover, giving the Hotshots 10.4 seconds to at least force overtime.
McCree, however, missed on a desperate three-point attempt as time expired.
Franklin finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, one steal and three blocks, while Maverick Ahanmisi added 22 points, five rebounds and one assist for the FiberXers, who are now at 3-0.
“Our approach is very general. Kung ano ang ginagawa namin na regular, ‘yun ang ginawa namin (whatever we are doing generally, that’s what we did),” coach Aldin Ayo said.
McCree had 38 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, while Lee added 21 points, five rebounds and four assists for Magnolia.
CONVERGE 111 – Franklin 26, Ahanmisi 22, Stockton 18, Melecio 14, Teng 11, Arana 8, Balanza 6, Tratter 4, Ambohot 2, Racal 0, Murrell 0.
MAGNOLIA 109 – Mccree 38, Lee 21, Jalalon 13, Abueva 12, Escoto 7, Ahanmisi 5, Wong 4, Dela Rosa 3, Sangalang 2, Barroca 2, Dionisio 2, Corpuz 0.
Quarters: 28-23, 50-47, 84-73, 111-109 (PNA)