RK Ilagan plays hero as Converge takes first PBA win

RK Ilagan (Photo from PBA)

ANTIPOLO CITY — Converge claimed its first-ever PBA victory in thrilling fashion after rallying from a huge deficit before outlasting Magnolia Chicken Timplados in overtime, 89-82, Friday, June 10 here.

Sophomore guard RK Ilagan knocked down a game-tying three late in regulation before his corner triple to begin the extra session allowed the FiberXers to take down the fancied Hotshots and secure a landmark win for the league’s newest franchise.

Ilagan finished with 14 points

Jeron Teng, newly-signed Maverick Ahanmisi and rookie big man Justin Arana were also huge during the contest even when all seemed lost with Magnolia ahead by 20 in the second quarter.

“I wanted us to win the last three minutes (of the second quarter) so we can have some momentum in the second half, and they went out there and did that. And then in the second half, they never really gave up,” said FiberXers coach Jeffrey Cariaso.

Ilagan finished with 14 points, Teng led all Converge scorers by making 19 while Ahanmisi also posted 14 a few days after finally agreeing to a deal.

Arana continued to make a good impression with nine points and 12 rebounds in his second game in the big league.

Ian Sangalang’s 22 points were not enough as Magnolia dropped to 0-2 without Paul Lee due to back spasms and Mark Barroca playing just 11 minutes after hurting his calf.

The Hotshots have never lost back-to-back games to start a conference since the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup.

Magnolia led 41-21 on a Jerrick Ahanmisi triple with over four minutes to go in the second, only for Converge to close the gap to 47-35 at the break mainly behind Teng, Ilagan, Ahanmisi and Ben Adamos.

Converge kept knocking on the door in the second half until 3:46 left in the fourth when Ahanmisi’s three tied things up at 78-all.

Back-to-back baskets by Sangalang appeared to have put Magnolia to safety at 82-78 near the two-minute mark but failed to score the rest of the way, setting up Ilagan’s heroics.

Down 82-79, Cariaso inserted Ilagan back on the floor and the third-round pick of the 2021 draft answered the call with a three-point shot that tied the count with 3.6 left in regulation.

Overtime began with Ilagan sinking a corner shot for 85-82 Converge. Ahanmisi scored then Arana made a turnaround shot from the post off Calvin Abueva, 1:47 left, to make it a seven-point game that stood until the end.

The scores:

CONVERGE 89 — Teng 19, Ilagan 14, Ahanmisi 14, Adamos 10, Arana 9, DiGregorio 7, Tolomia 6, Murrell 4, Bulanadi 3, Racal 3, Browne 0, Hill 0, Ambohot 0, Stockton 0, Lojera 0.

MAGNOLIA 82 — Sangalang 22, Jalalon 13, Abueva 13, Ahanmisi 12, Dela Rosa 10, Barroca 4, Wong 4, Zaldivar 4, Reavis 0, Corpuz 0. 

Quarters: 11-16, 35-47, 58-65, 82-82, 89-82.