Jalen Hudson dropped a 56-point bomb as TNT put a dent on Converge’s clean slate with a 128-122 victory in the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Hudson carried the Tropang Giga on his back as, after firing 20 of his total in the first quarter alone, took over in the waning minutes to help his team pull away late and notch their fourth win in five games while also handling the FiberXers their first taste of defeat in the conference.
The TNT import was efficient on the floor, shooting 20-of-30 from the field including six triples to go along with his 12 rebounds and four assists. Mikey Williams also provided support with timely hits in the final frame to finish with 19 points while RR Pogoy added 18 markers.
More than the huge offensive explosion from Hudson, head coach Jojo Lastimosa lauded the defensive effort and the fight his wards showed especially when they trailed by as many as eight points in the third frame.
“We were having a difficult time containing them in transition and it was a huge talking point at half time. Even before the game, the game plan was to slow them down. They are used to playing at a fast pace but the good thing is we were able to keep in step with them when we were down and they got to the most was eight and we were able to catch up,” said Lastimosa.
“I just thought the guys fought hard and it might not be indicated in the score but every point that we got we earned it,” he added.
Up by a precarious two-point lead, 111-109, midway through the payoff period, Hudson soared for back-to-back layups which triggered a pivotal 11-1 spurt that established a double-digit cushion, 120-108, after a Kelly Williams alley-oop dunk with 2:30 remaining in the contest.
Converge tried to make a last-ditch run behind Jamaal Franklin who unloaded 10 of his 47 points in the last two minutes but TNT just proved to be steady on the charity stripe and kept the FiberXers at bay with timely free throw hits.
Franklin added 14 rebounds and seven assists to another all-around performance while Maverick Ahanmisi contributed 21 points and eight boards.