4 p.m. — Converge vs NorthPort
8 p.m. — Blackwater vs Magnolia
CONVERGE, the only winless team in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, decided it’s time to make a major step to fix the lag.
In a deep hole after repeatedly failing to get the breakthrough, the FiberXers (0-5) brought in a new import in former LA Clipper Jamil Wilson as they try to save their playoffs bid over the next six games.
The 6-foot-7 Mr. Wilson, who played 15 matches with Clippers in the 2017-18 season and averaged 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds, took over from Tom Vodanovich, who failed to lead Converge to a W in five starts.
Australian Mr. Vodanovich dropped 35 points, nine rebounds and three assists in what turned out to be his farewell outing, a 98-99 nail-biting loss to Phoenix, last Saturday.
Converge made the import switch even as it signed up 19th pick JL delos Santos. The rookie guard out of Jose Rizal replaced Mac Tallo in Aldin Ayo’s revamped roster.
The new additions buckle down to work right away as Converge takes on NorthPort (3-2) in the 4 p.m. opener of today’s double-header at the PhilSports Arena.
The 8 p.m. showcase features unbeaten leader Magnolia gunning for its sixth consecutive victory versus a Blackwater side that fumbled to five straight defeats after starting its campaign triumphant.
Up to give Mr. Wilson his baptism of fire in the PBA are Australian import Venky Jois and the Batang Pier’s tough defenders.
Compared to the FiberXers, the Batang Pier have gotten more success at gaining traction in the conference, as reflected by their .600 card.
Moreover, the charges of Bonnie Tan are riding on their confidence-boosting 128-123 overtime upset of TNT last Friday as they shoot for a follow up.
Notes: Meralco’s worst fears were realized as MRI tests on reinforcement Su Braimoh confirmed a tear on his left Achilles, forcing him out of the tournament. Mr. Braimoh sustained the injury at the 3:55 mark of the fourth in their 97-94 squeaker over NLEX last Sunday. “He’ll be out and we wish him well,” Meralco mentor Luigi Trillo reported in a Zoom presscon yesterday announcing the Bolts’ East Asia Super League (EASL) return duel with Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings in Macau on Dec. 13. The Bolts are looking at possibly tapping their EASL import, guard Zach Lofton, in lieu of Mr. Braimoh, or getting a new big man altogether. Their other EASL reinforcement, Prince Ibeh, isn’t an option as he stands over the 6-foot-9 height limit. — Olmin Leyba