Converge looks to stay unbeaten and keep its hold of the early lead in the standings when it tangles against winless Rain or Shine in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The FiberXers aim to stretch their winning start to the conference to four games against an Elasto Painters side equally eager to get out of the slump and barge into the win column in their 6:45 p.m. encounter
A fitting battle between the two winless teams also looking for a breakthrough in Phoenix and NorthPort also serves as the curtain-raiser in the opening game at 4:30 p.m.
Although passing their most difficult test so far with flying colors after taking down Magnolia, 111-109, last Sunday, Jan 29, head coach Aldin Ayo is still far from satisfied from what he’s been seeing from his wards and hopes to have import Jamaal Franklin to get more familiar with their system.
“Possession by possession yung approach namin dun both offense and defense pero Jamaal is still adjusting dun sa sistema namin. Right now what I can say is we are very predictable,” said Ayo.
"Hopefully, 'yung mga susunod na araw makapag adjust si Jamaal sa mga plays namin kasi we don't want to call those plays all the time,” he added.
Still, it was Franklin who saved the day for the FiberXers after converting on the crucial baskets down the stretch to keep the Hotshots at bay.
Out to stop them, however, are the hungry Elasto Painters, who, despite a 0-2 start, showed flashes of their potential particularly in their narrow 105-100 loss to the TNT Tropang Giga. ROS actually led by as many as 18 points only to collapse in the final quarter.
Michael Qualls is expected to lead Rain or Shine especially after finally breaking out of his own shooting slump with a 35-point performance although he was still misfiring from deep with a 3-of-10 shooting.
Rey Nambatac, along with Anton Asistio, veterans Gabe Norwood, James Yap and Beau Belga, also need to buckle down on the defensive end if they wish to put the clamps on Converge’s run-and-gun offense.
Meanwhile, one between new coaches Jamike Jarin of Phoenix and Bonnie Tan of NorthPort will finally pick up their first win of their PBA head coaching careers in the opening game.
Both reeling at the bottom part of the standings with identical 0-3 records, both teams are looking to get more support from their local crews to backstop the solid performances of their respective imports.
Du’Vaughn Maxwell has been solid for the Fuel Masters, averaging 26.3 points and 16.6 rebounds while Marcus Weathers is norming 32 points and 10.3 boards per contest.