By ADRIAN STEWART CO
New-look Converge FiberXers opened its 2022-2023 PBA Governors’ Cup campaign with a dominant 122-92 victory over NorthPort Batang Pier at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Sunday night, January 22.
Maverick Ahanmisi tallied 29 points to go with nine assists and six rebounds, while reinforcement Ethan Rusbatch added 17 points, including three outside hits, to go with nine boards for the FiberXers.
Jeron Teng chipped in 16 markers and nine boards, Jerrick Balanza and Abu Tratter each had 13 points, while David Murrell and Taylor Browne ended with 12 and 11, respectively, for Converge.
From a seesaw battle in the opening quarter, the FiberXers broke away in the second period behind outside hits by Balanza and Browne and inside attacks by Ahanmisi and Murrell to establish a 66-46 halftime lead.
Converge went on with its torrid shooting in the second half with Rusbatch and Teng hitting their shots from outside as the lead swelled to its largest at 122-85 via a three-point hit by Kevin Racal.
Marcus Weathers debuted for the Batang Pier with double-double 37 points and 12 rebounds, Arvin Tolentino added 12 markers, including three triples, while John Michael Calma ended with 10 points.
In the first game, Meralco Bolts spoiled the return of Negrense guard James Yap to pull off a 105-87 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to open their campaign on a winning note.
From a 54-all score at the half following a fiery second quarter by Yap, the Bolts waxed hot to start the third quarter behind Allein Maliksi, Kier John Quinto and KJ McDaniels for an 81-68 lead.
Meralco went on with its rampage in the fourth quarter with McDaniels attacking the undersized frontline of Rain or Shine as the lead reached its largest at 103-82 on an inside hit by McDaniels.
McDaniels finished with double-double 27 points and 23 rebounds to lead the Bolts, Chris Banchero chipped in 17 markers before exiting in the third quarter with an injury, while Maliksi and Quinto had 16 and 11, respectively.
CONVERGE 122 — Ahanmisi 29, Rusbatch 17, Teng 16, Balanza 13, Tratter 13, Murrell 12, Browne 11, Arana 6, Racal 3, Stockton 2, Ambohot 0, Ebona 0, Tolomia 0.
NORTHPORT 92 — Weathers 37, Tolentino 12, Calma 10, Munzon 9, Chan 5, Sumang 5, Salado 4, Taha 2, Caperal 2, Ayaay 2, Balagasay 2, Vigil 2, Zamar 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarterscores: 26-25, 66-46, 88-69, 122-92./ASC, WDJ