Converge keeps chase of leaders, takes on sliding NLEX

Converge looks to keep up with the league leaders when it tangles against the suddenly skidding NLEX in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Justin Arana holds his own against June Mar Fajardo as he proves to be vital cog in Converge's rise. (PBA Images)

The FiberXers, riding the momentum of their confidence-boosting 107-103 win over the powerhouse San Miguel Beermen, hope to build another win streak against the Road Warriors in the 6:45 p.m. affair.

The match will come after a clash between Terrafirma and Phoenix at 4:30 p.m. with both teams looking to arrest their respective slides and move up to the middle of the standings.

Converge import Jamaal Franklin continues to be at the center of the FiberXers' steady rise, dropping 37 points, nine rebounds and seven assists including some clutch baskets in the big win over SMB which currently sits atop the standings along with TNT with identical 7-1 records.

A 6-1 slate and the spot behind the league leaders are the targets for the FiberXers as they continue to prove that they are more than just a one-man army with Franklin with guys like Maverick Ahanmisi, Jeron Teng, Alec Stockton and Justin Arana all forming a potent supporting cast to the do-it-all import.

“For me the most pressure here is trying to win. I’m not playing for the stats, I’m just trying to win. Stats will come if you play to win. But we are all playing to win, the team is playing to win and it obviously showed,” said Franklin, playing down his all-around stat line while also crediting his teammates for their share in the victory.

“We are all just playing to win. Everything just comes, I might be the guy one night, Alec might be the guy one night, Maverick might be the guy one night but we just play to win that’s all that matters. Everybody loves winning,” the former NBA player added.

Converge currently has a 5-1 record and is looking strong with its position inside the top four spots which if they manage to maintain up until the end of the eliminations will merit them a twice-to-beat incentive – a goal that NLEX head coach Franking Lim had also set for his team.

However, the ride towards it for NLEX reached a bumpy road as of late, suffering its second straight loss after starting the conference with a clean 4-0 slate.

The Road Warrior seemed to have run out of gas in the 119-103 loss to Magnolia as import Wayne Selden Jr. remains winless through two games since taking over first choice Jonathon Simmons.