Nights like this are hard to come by for the Converge FiberXers and on Thursday night, the newest PBA squad was able to pull off a big win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bad luck for the NLEX Road Warriors, who played a FiberXers team that was probably at its best this season, winning 112-108 and staying in contention in the PBA Philippine Cup.
“We played Converge, I think, on a night they played their best game,” Road Warriors general manager and head coach Yeng Guiao. “Accepted namin yun na Converge, on their best game, can defeat any team in this league. That’s their best game and it just so happened kami yung nakatapat nila.”
By simply looking at the stats, you could tell that the FiberXers played an extraordinary game.
Leading the way for the FiberXers was David Murrell, former player of NLEX, who finished with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field.
Athletic rookie Tyrus Hill also played the best game of his young PBA career, tallying 18 markers with near-flawless shooting from the field, hitting eight of nine shots. Some of those shots were highlight reels which energized the rest of the squad.
Taylor Browne came off the bench and produced 15 points, all from beyond the arc.
“Actually kung titingnan mo yung top scorers, si Murrell, si Hill, si Browne, that’s an extraordinary night for them. Hindi naman yan ang usual scorers nila,” said Guiao. “It’s one of those games that happens.”
“We have to take some responsibilities on that, also. Kailangan naming tanggapin yung mga mali namin. We lost out in our transition defense. We were not aggressive getting out quicker in transition. I think it’s something we need to address, aside from losing big leads. We have to get back in transition and defend the more athletic teams.”
Against Converge, NLEX didn’t lose a big lead. The biggest lead the Road Warriors posted was seven points when they raced to a 7-0 lead, but since then, it was the FiberXers who practically controlled the match.
“Sa transition points lang namin, it’s 22 to 2, so doon pa lang, plus 20 na sila. That’s not even talking about the 3-point shots that they made in crucial time,” added Guiao.
It was only the third win in eight games for Converge, which kept its hopes alive for a playoff berth.
For the Road Warriors, the loss was their second straight as they dropped to 4-4, putting more pressure on them to win their remaining games to stay out of falling either at No. 7 or No. 8 spot.
Teams which finish at No. 7 and No.8 will carry a twice-to-win disadvantage in the playoffs.