MANILA, Philippines -- Converge import Jamaal Franklin made light of an incident involving one of the Magnolia coaches towards the end of their 2023 PBA Governors' Cup game on Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Franklin hit a clutch three-pointer with 65 seconds left to play that gave Converge a 111-105 lead -- enough to withstand the Hotshots' final push. The FiberXers held on for a 111-109 triumph that kept them unbeaten in the conference.
Snatching some of the attention from Converge's win, however, was the obscene gesture that Magnolia assistant coach Johnny Abarrientos directed at Franklin after his three-point shot.
"I think they were a little mad on the three I took, while I got to three fouls," said Franklin after the game. "But that had nothing to do with me. That's with the ref. But I had nothing to do with it."
Abarrientos has since been fined for flipping his middle finger at Franklin, with the PBA docking him P10,000. The Magnolia deputy was apologetic about the incident but also acknowledged that he was less than pleased with Franklin.
The import had made a "settle down" gesture after hitting his clutch three-pointer, while jogging back down the court on defense.
Franklin, however, made it clear that there are no issues between him and the Magnolia coaching staff. Indeed, he stressed that he is impressed by the Hotshots, who nearly erased a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter and just fell short of stealing away a victory in the end game.
"Nothing happened between me and the other coaches today. I tip my hat off to them, I tip my hat off to the other import, I tip my hat off to No. 19 and No. 13 who were guarding me -- they were good physical defenders," said Franklin, referring to Rome dela Rosa and Calvin Abueva, respectively.
"But nothing happened between me and the other coaches over there," he added. "I tip my hat off to 'em, they have a good team, they have a real, real coach, they have a great system, and they play really well together."
Franklin was also impressed by Magnolia veteran Paul Lee, who torched the FiberXers for 21 points including three three-pointers. The Converge import said he hopes to play the Hotshots again, potentially in the playoffs.
"I see them as a team that, if we want to go deep in the finals and make a run, be a contender or be a championship team, I think we have to play them again," he said. "So we're looking forward to playin against them."
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