MANILA, Philippines -- Converge's failure to take care of the "little things" eventually led to their first defeat of the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup, head coach Aldin Ayo lamented on Wednesday.
The FiberXers won their first four games of the conference but fell short against the TNT Tropang GIGA, 128-122. They had no answer for TNT import Jalen Hudson, who made 21 of his 31 field goals en route to 56 points.
"We missed a lot of open shots," Ayo told reporters after the game. "And we took for granted some important details, especially on defense."
He was especially disappointed with their defense on Hudson, who repeatedly got to the rim for easy buckets. The TNT import kept the Converge defense guessing, as he also made six of 11 attempts from long range.
But Ayo believes that Hudson -- and by extension, Mikey Williams -- could have been limited if the FiberXers had stuck to their principles on defense. Williams sparked a crucial 10-2 run in the fourth quarter that gave TNT enough cushion to withstand Converge's late rally.
"Dapat hindi ganun kalaki 'yung iniscore ng import, even MIkey Williams sana kahit papaano nabawasan if we just executed yung maliliit na bagay na trinabaho namin during the off-season," said Ayo.
"We were hoping na habit na nila. We were hoping na come gametime, hindi na namin ire-remind although we kept on reminding them, pero hindi na pumapasok, hindi na naaabsorb," he added.
Ayo praised the efforts of import Jamaal Franklin, who went blow-for-blow with Hudson and finished with 47 points in the defeat. But the coach made it clear that their locals must also pull their weight.
"Lots of things [happen] kapag nasa kanya 'yung bola," Ayo said of Franklin. "Hopefully, maging ready lang 'yung locals doon sa mga finishes, because he lvoes to pass. Sana, ma-finish ng mga locals."
"And aside from Jamaal, yung ibang locals sana mag-step up din, sana mag-contribute not only on the offensive end, most especially sa depensa," he added.
Maverick Ahanmisi was the highest-scoring local for Converge, with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Abu Tratter had 11 points, while Justin Arana scored 10.
The FiberXers will try to bounce back on Saturday against San Miguel Beer.
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