PBA: Ayo wants more improvement from 'predictable' Converge

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2023 12:37 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2023 03:52 PM

Converge head coach Aldin Ayo. PBA Images
Converge head coach Aldin Ayo. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Converge is off to a strong start in the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup, with its 3-0 record putting it at the top of the league standings.

But for head coach Aldin Ayo, their level of play still leaves a lot to be desired, especially as they continue to integrate import Jamaal Franklin into their system.

"Possession by possession 'yung approach namin doon, both offense and defense," said Ayo on Sunday, after the FiberXers hurdled their toughest challenge of the conference so far through a 111-109 escape against the Magnolia Hotshots. 

"Pero, Jamaal is still adjusting doon sa sistema namin, and right now what I can say is, we are very predictable," he admitted.

The FiberXers led by as much as 14 points against Magnolia, and were up by 13 midway through the final quarter. Their composure was tested, however, as Magnolia import Erik McCree sparked a late comeback by the Hotshots.

Magnolia got within two points, 111-109, with 30 seconds left on a McCree and-1, and a turnover by Franklin in Converge's final possession left the door open for the Hotshots to steal the win.

But Converge survived, as McCree's triple at the buzzer hit iron. Ayo later said that there were possessions where they rushed their offense, but he insisted that his players are not at fault for those errors.

"You cannot blame the players kasi 'yun talaga ang sistema namin eh. And you just can't turn it on, na tipong you have to slow down. We're not going to slow down," he said. "And still, we had good looks doon sa three-points. It just didn't go in. Well, breaks lang ng laro 'yun."

The FiberXers have a three-day gap between games, as they play Rain or Shine on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena. Ayo said they will use the time to develop their system further, in an effort to be less predictable in their upcoming games.

"Hopefully 'yung mga susunod na araw, makapag-adjust si Jamaal dun sa mga plays namin. Because, we don't want to call those plays all the time," said Ayo.

Franklin, for his part, left it up to the Converge coaching staff on how to further integrate him into the squad. The import finished the game against Magnolia with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists, but also committed six of their 13 turnovers.

"He's talking about we’re predictable, I mean, we’re winning. I love being predicted to be a winner, so let’s just keep winning I guess and let coaches figure it out," said Franklin. "He does the Xs and Os."

"We just got to listen to what coach says at practice. When we go through the details, coach is going to tell us what we need to do and we just got listen to what he doing. One thing we got to keep doing is winning. Everybody loves winning," he added.

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