Converge FiberXers, the newest team in the Philippine Basketball Association, came tantalizingly close but ultimately dropped a 77-79 heartbreaker to the Rain or Shine Elastopainters during the opening game of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday June 5.

       The FiberXers seemed on the way to victory after free throws by RK Ilagan tied the count at 75-all.

       This was followed by a left-handed swooping layup by Jeron Teng over the blocking hands of Rain or Shine defender Norbert Torres which pushed Converge ahead 77-75.

       But Rain or Shine veteran Beau Belga was able to fake off rookie Jeo Ambohot then drilled a three-pointer as Converge fell behind for good, 77-78.

       Teng tried to take back the lead for the FiberXers but he was double-teamed just past the midcourt line. His pass out of a double-team was deflected by the Elasto Painters.

       Rain or Shine’s Leonard Santillan then finalized the count on a charity split.

       Converge’s PBA star Teng led all scorers with 23 markers. Alec Stockton gave a good account of himself with a PBA career high 13 points. Ilagan was the other double digit scorer for the FiberXers with 10 points.

The scores:

Converge 77 – Jeron Teng 23, Alec Stockton 13, RK Ilagan 10, Jeo Ambohot 7, Justin Arana 6, Hill 5, Jeo Adamos 5, Mike DiGregorio 4, Allyn Bulanadi 2, Kurt Lojera 2, Mike Tolomia 0, Kevin Racal 0.

Rain or Shine 79 – Leonard Santillan 18, Beau Belga 17, Andrei Caracut 10, Norbert Torres 10, Mike Nieto 8, Rey Nambatac 8, Anton Asistio 5, Gabe Norwood 3, Gian Mamuyac 0, Shaun Ildefonso 0, Vince Tolentino 0, Jewel Ponferada 0, Mark Borboran 0.

Quarter scores: 19-16; 38-31; 55-57; 77-79.

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