The TNT Tropang Giga dealt the Converge FiberXers its first-ever loss, 128-122, at the ongoing 2023 PBA Governors Cup behind Jalen Hudson's 56-point, 12-rebound explosion.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the TNT Tropang Giga was behind by a point, 93-94, against the Converge FiberXers. Thanks to the electrifying dunk of their import Jalen Hudson, the TNT Tropang Giga managed to snatch the lead, 95-94.
Since then, the TNT Tropang Giga never looked back as they made bucket after bucket to win the game against the Converge FiberXers. In fact, they lead as much as nine points in the last minute of the game.
The 26-year-old Jalen Hudson got much-needed help from locals to snatch their fourth victory in five matches. Marcus Williams recorded 19 points and five rebounds, while Roger Pogoy contributed 18 points and five rebounds.
Bench player Paul Varilla played quality minutes with 12 points, and longtime Gilas Pilipinas member William Jayson Castro added 10 points.
For the side of the Converge FiberXers, import Jamaal Franklin had 47 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists as his team recorded its first-ever loss in five games. Maverick Ahanmisi contributed 21 points and eight rebounds.
Abu Tratter and Justin Arana combined for 21 points as team captain Jeron Teng and Alec Stockton were limited to eight points apiece.
PBA Recap: TNT Tropang Giga's Jalen Hudson versus Converge FiberXers's Jamaal Franklin
The main reason why the TNT Tropang Giga won against the favorite that Converge FiberXers had in the 2023 PBA Governors Cup was because of their import, Jalen Hudson, who recorded 56 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists in 41 minutes of action.
Prior to this match, Jalen was only averaging 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists after four games with the TNT Tropang Giga.
In comparison, Converge FiberXers import Jamaal Franklin recorded a similarly impressive 47 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. Prior to their game against the TNT Tropang Giga, Jamaal Franklin was averaging 31 points, 12.3 rebounds, 10 assists per game in his three games with the team.
Jalen Hudson had an impressive 67% shooting efficiency, making 21 out of 31 shots. He also had a 72% free throw efficiency, shooting eight out of 11 attempts. Meanwhile, Jamaal Franklin had a 51% field goal efficiency.
Aside from waking up on the right side of the bed, Jamaal Franklin also had much-needed help from his teammates, with four players combining for 59 points. Meanwhile, only three local players of the Converge FiberXers scored in double digits, combining for 42 points.
PBA Recap: Converge FiberXers Dominate Statistics
In the game of TNT Tropang Giga and Converge FiberXers, no one team had a huge advantage throughout the game. At the end of the first quarter, the TNT Tropang Giga was just leading by three points, 35-32.
At halftime, the Converge FiberXers managed to snatch the lead, 65-64. At the end of the third quarter, the Converge FiberXers had maintained their hair-thin lead, 94-93. However, the story of the evening was the fourth quarter where the TNT Tropang Giga outpaced the Converge FiberXers to secure the victory.
In the attacking department, the TNT Tropang Giga had a 53% field goal efficiency with 59% two-point efficiency, and 44% three-point efficiency. In comparison, the Converge FiberXers had a 50% field goal efficiency with 62% two-point efficiency, and 31% three-point efficiency.
The Converge FiberXers is known for its high-octane offense strategized by their head coach Aldin Ayo. At 31% three-point shooting efficiency, the Converge FiberXers would not win a match against bigger teams like the TNT Tropang Giga.
Fortunately for the Converge FiberXers, they dominated the points in the paint with 62, higher than TNT Tropang Giga's 56. The team also led in bench points with 46 compared to TNT Tropang Giga's 30, and fastbreak points with 27, compared to 15 of their opponents.
On the defensive side, the Converge FiberXers had a better free throw efficiency, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, but as much as the defense is important, it does not win a game.
Postgame: Hudson Accepts Coach's Challenge
After the game, TNT Tropang Giga head coach and PBA legend Jojo Lastimosa admitted to the press that he challenged his import Jalen Hudson to score more points as there is no big man in the league to stop him.
"Because I know that he's capable of doing. He's as quick as anybody here in the league. He's athletic. If he goes past that main guy, I don't care who's in there.", he said,
"There is no 7-footer in this league to stop him. So I told him, ‘Hey, I think you can finish better if you're not in a hurry.", and that is what he did the whole night. He didn't change his game. He was still attacking.
"He was attacking in the first four games. But now, I think he has a better sense or idea of not to be in a hurry because there are no 7-footers to bother his shot."
According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, Jalen Hudson's 56-point explosion is the most scored by an import since Shabazz Muhammad's 57 points as San Miguel Beermen import in the last Governors' Cup.
Himself, Jalen also admitted that 56 points were his personal best in his professional career.
"In summer league games, like exhibition games and stuff like that before, I've always kinda been known as a scorer. This is my first time professionally. Obviously, it was a fast-paced game tonight, which kinda led to it. But I've never scored 56 before," Jalen admitted.
If TNT Tropang Giga head coach Jojo Lastimosa was all praise for his ward, Converge FiberXers head coach Aldin Ayo pointed out some "little things" that had led to his team's first loss.
He said, "We missed a lot of open shots. And we took for granted some important details, especially on defense."
Coach Aldin Ayo was especially disappointed with his team's defense on TNT Tropang Giga import Jalen Hudson, who scored his personal best against their team.
The TNT Tropang Giga will next face the Terrafirma Dyip on Saturday, February 11, while the Converge FiberXers will take on the San Miguel Beermen on the same
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