PBA Playoffs San Miguel Trashes Converge in QF 2023 Govs Cup2023/03/23 Play Now India Bonus
The San Miguel Beermen unleashed their equally dangerous side sans five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo as they did quick work of the Converge FiberXers, 121-105, in the quarterfinals of the ongoing 2023 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday, March 19.
San Miguel Beermen import Cameron Clark and Vic Manuel guarded the center without June Mar Fajardo to man the bucket. Cameron Clark tallied an enormous double-double performance of 40 points and 13 rebounds, while Vic Manuel contributed 20 points.
Jaymar Perez also had a double-double in his extended minutes on the court with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists, while Jericho Cruz provided a breather off the bench with 12 points.
PBA Playoffs: San Miguel Trashes Converge in QF 2023 Govs Cup
On the side of the Converge FiberXers, they debuted their new import, Thomas Vodanovich, who scored 39 points and 10 rebounds in his only game this conference. Converge FiberXers' former import, Jamaal Franklin, was released before the start of the playoffs.
Jamaal Franklin was booted out after a bizarre performance at the end of the elimination round. In Converge's final game against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Franklin scored four points in five attempts, as he deliberately passed on shots he usually takes.
Maverick Ahanmisi also had a double-double performance with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Justin Arana added 14 points and six rebounds.
Alex Thompson scored 12 points, while Aljun Melecio was the spark of Converge's bench with 11 points.
With the loss, the Converge is already eliminated from the playoffs, while the San Miguel Beermen will face the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
What San Miguel's Coach Jorge Gallent Said About Semifinals
After the game, San Miguel Beermen head coach Jorge Gallent is cautious about their chances of getting the trophy since June Mar Fajardo has yet to be cleared by the doctors after suffering an MCL injury late in the eliminations round.
"Nothing comes easy now," Gallent told reporters after becoming the first team to reach the semifinals. "We have a hard time against Converge, and we expect to have a hard time in the semis. We just have to be prepared."
Without the five-time PBA MVP, Vic Manuel took the mantle and led the defensive side of the San Miguel Beermen. Against the Converge FiberXers, Vic Manuel delivered 20 big points as he led his team's defense to stop Tom Vodanovich of Converge.
"I'm just trying to keep my confidence up, especially that we're now in the semis. I'll keep going for my shots as long as they go in," he said in Filipino.
Now that they are facing the defending champions in the best-of-five semifinals, Vic makes sure he can help the team now that he's on the starting lineup.
"I was motivated to perform well in order to help the team, especially as I was tasked to play as a starter," he added. Vic Manuel missed the first three games of the San Miguel Beermen due to a calf injury.
Converge Coach Aldin Ayo Back To The Drawing Board
After their early exit in the PBA Governors' Cup playoffs, Converge FiberXers head coach Aldin Ayo shut down rumors that he will be exiting as the lead tactician of the newest team. In fact, he already had a plan for the team moving forward.
"I found a home here with this team," he said after their loss against the San Miguel Beermen. In Converge, coach Aldin Ayo got reunited with Jeron Teng, Kevin Racal, Aljun Melecio, and Justin Arana, who, once upon a time, were his players in the collegiate rank.
"This is already the PBA – the highest level of basketball here. And I have quite the bosses, too. I've nothing more to say [other than] I am grateful for this opportunity."
Rumors of coach Aldin Ayo leaving the team made rounds online months after being appointed to the head coaching position. Though he made it clear that he would be staying longer, the rumors were not baseless as he already had a short stint in the collegiate rank with the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, the De La Salle University, and the University of Santo Tomas.
"I know the history of my career [shows me] moving from one team to another. But I think I've found a team and a management that's easy [to work with]," he said.
In his two conferences in the PBA, coach Aldin has yet to miss the playoffs. In the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's Cup, he led the Converge FiberXers to an 8-4 win-loss record in the elimination round before bowing down to the San Miguel
Beermen in the best-of-three quarterfinals.
In the ongoing 2023 PBA Governors' Cup, he led the team to a 6-5 win-loss record before losing the quarterfinals against the San Miguel Beermen.
Now that the next PBA season is seven months away, Coach Aldin cherishes his time to train with his team. The 48th season of the PBA will now begin in October to give way to the FIBA World Cup, which will happen in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from August to September.
"That's what I'm really excited about. That's always been the issue for us here in Converge ¬– time. Now, we're going to get that much, we'll just have to make sure to grab every opportunity to improve our players individually."