PBA: Ahanmisi fuels Converge to big win over NorthPort

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2023 09:21 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2023 10:38 PM

Maverick Ahanmisi starred in Converge's rout of NorthPort. PBA Images.
Maverick Ahanmisi starred in Converge's rout of NorthPort. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Maverick Ahanmisi was unstoppable as the Converge FiberXers opened their PBA Governors' Cup campaign with a huge 122-92 victory over the NorthPort Batang Pier, Sunday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Ahanmisi exploded for 29 points -- 11 of which came in the second quarter -- to power the FiberXers to the impressive triumph. He also had nine assists and six rebounds for Converge. Six other players scored in double-digits, including import Ethan Rusbatch who put up 17 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.

The FiberXers settled for a 26-25 lead after the first quarter but out-scored NorthPort 40-21 in the second period to break the game open.

Ahanmisi torched the Batang Pier in the pivotal frame, making four of five field goals for 11 points while adding four dimes. Converge entered the break with a comfortable 66-46 advantage and were not threatened the rest of the way.

"We started slow doon sa first quarter because there were players na naghahanap ng puntos. I think excited lang siguro sa first game," Converge coach Aldin Ayo said after their comprehensive triumph. 

"But after that, everybody was executing, and we were setting up players doon sa mga strength nila," he added.

The FiberXers were up by just two points, 43-41, with five minutes to go in the second quarter when Ahanmisi sparked a 16-2 run that pushed them ahead, 59-43, with two minutes left.

It was all Converge from there: they led by as much as 37 points, 122-85, off a Kevin Racal jumper with 1:25 to go.

Converge shot a blistering 51% from the field, including 16-of-40 from long range. They also tallied 27 assists in the contest.

For the FiberXers, the 30-point winning margin is the biggest in the history of the young franchise. 

The Batang Pier dearly missed the presence of star point guard Robert Bolick, who missed the game due to a hamstring injury. Import Marcus Weathers put up 37 points and 12 rebounds, but the NorthPort locals struggled to match his impact. 

Arvin Tolentino was NorthPort's second-highest scorer, with 12 points.

The Scores:

CONVERGE – Ahanmisi 29, Rusbatch 17, Teng 16, Tratter 13, Balanza 13, Murrell 12 Browne 11, Arana 6, Racal 3, Stockton 2, Ebona 0, Tolomia 0, Ambohot 0

NORTHPORT – Weathers 37, Tolentino 12, Calma 10, Munzon 9, Sumang 5, Chan 5, Salado 4, Caperal 2, Taha 2, Vigil 2, Ayaay 2, Balagasay 2, Zamar 0, Dela Cruz 0, 

QUARTERS: 26-25, 66-46, 88-69, 122-92