Few intangibles can have a larger impact than how a player fits within the team. Talent is certainly a major asset for any squad, but winning games and chasing championships are predicated on finding ways to mesh talent.
The Converge FiberXers have molded their roster to suit the system of head coach Aldin Ayo. Speed, shooting, and pressure-packed defense are among the hallmarks of Ayo’s system regardless of how different they look now from when he was coaching at the college level.
For the 2022-2023 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the FiberXers needed an import who could do a little of everything required to thrive in Ayo’s system, while also being able to carry a heavy load as was accustomed by PBA imports. Safe to say that nine games in, Converge has found that with Quincy Miller.
Miller has done whatever the FiberXers have been asked of him, whether it be setting screens for teammates or scoring a timely basket. It isn’t uncommon to see Miller chase down his opponent to block a shot on the fastbreak then run back on offense to set a screen and move to a spot where he can get open and convert on a potential scoring opportunity. The forward from Chicago, Illinois has also had great rapport with the likes of Jeron Teng, Aljun Melecio, and Justin Arana, who have been among those who have found him in good spots or have been on the receiving end of his passes.
In fact, the game between Converge and the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, provided a glimpse of the future of the league, of course, barring any major player movement involving both teams.
With both teams combining for 12 made 3-pointers in the first quarter, the stage was set for a shootout. The FiberXers and the Fuel Masters held a lead no larger than 12 points and traded shots for much of the game, with both squads breaking the 100-point mark with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
Miller was at the center of this high-scoring affair, as his game-high 46 points helped the Converge pull away in a 132-127 victory. In fact, he shot better from behind the 3-point line (61.5 percent) and at the free throw line (80.0 percent) than from inside (41.7 percent), an indication that the stars were aligned for the 38th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to lead the team in what turned out to be a thrilling shootout.
Through nine games, Miller has averaged 32.0 points (on 50.0/41.2/78.1 shooting splits), 16.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 3.1 blocks, and 1.8 steals in the 2022-2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, a manifestation of his do-a-little-bit-of-everything game. The former Baylor Bear has so far played nearly 40 minutes per game and while there is a long list of players who play more minutes on a per-game basis than him, one has to wonder if Ayo will try to ease things for Miller, who will be 30 years old on November 18. Blowouts will certainly make this an easier decision, but given how things are turning out, the UAAP and NCAA champion coach may want to have a more long-term view even as they entered this conference with lower expectations than their current reality.
Miller has also signified his interest in being part of the Philippine national team, with his play certainly stoking the flames.
Some may say that this could simply be lip service, but Gilas Pilipinas could certainly use his services especially when a significant portion of the Gilas pool has either begged off or remains sidelined due to injury. Of course, Miller won’t be available immediately because he would have to go through the naturalization process that could take long depending on how heavy the hands of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas are, but it’s highly likely that there will be future instances where the availability won’t be the best ability of Gilas Pilipinas.
Quincy Miller has been the perfect import for the Converge FiberXers not just because of his numbers, but also because of how he has led the FiberXers to a league-best seven wins as of this writing. The job is obviously far from over, but Converge is primed for a strong finish with Miller at the helm.