Sunday, June 23

Franklin scoring outage puzzles coach, fans

Converge officials are still deciding on the fate of Jamaal Franklin (right), who turned gun-shy in the game against Barangay Ginebra. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Converge management will take its time before making a decision on the fate of import Jamaal Franklin, whose performance — or nonperformance — left fans and FiberXers coach Aldin Ayo clueless.

“We haven’t discussed anything as we are on a break as of the moment,” said team official CK Kanapi-Daniolco on Monday in the aftermath of Franklin’s mysterious four-point outing in a 120-101 loss to Barangay Ginebra at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Franklin only took five shots in that setback, a huge contrast to his run of form since replacing Ethan Rusbatch two games into the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.

During the defeat that ended the FiberXers’ chances of getting a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, Franklin opted to pass the ball more than usual instead of trying to hit shots, including uncontested ones, which he has consistently converted.

Before the game against Ginebra, Franklin scored 57 points in a 132-129 overtime defeat at the hands of Meralco after needing 36 shots to produce his output—something that reduced Ayo to an astonished smile.

“It’s either he takes 36 or he takes five. I mean, what’s the deal?” a puzzled Ayo told reporters before suggesting that changes are in the offing.

Ayo didn’t elaborate on what kind of changes, if it is a tactical one or a matter of giving Franklin a plane ticket back home and find a replacement in time for the quarterfinals.

But Ayo felt that it was not the first time that he felt that Franklin had played questionably, although the previous incident was not as glaring as the Ginebra game.

Three straight losses

“I was a bit surprised, but there was already a precedent. There were some games, especially against Blackwater, where his body language was different,” he said in Filipino.

“At the back of my mind, there was always that possibility that he might do it again. But the instruction was really to play within the system. But I don’t know what happened,” added Ayo.

In a 98-90 victory over Blackwater, Franklin scored 19 points on six-of-16 shooting and had 15 rebounds to go with five assists. He also had six turnovers. Before that game, Converge lost to NLEX, 116-112, in a duel where Franklin finished with 53 points on a 12-of-30 performance from the field and turning the ball over 12 times.

Converge has already completed its elimination round slate with a 6-5 record, dropping three straight games including those matches against Meralco and Ginebra. INQ

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