Phoenix thwarts Converge, stays alive in QF race

Phoenix staved off elimination in an emphatic fashion and thwarted Converge, 89-66, to stay alive in the quarterfinals race in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, July 16.

A masterful defensive performance in the first half set the tone for the romp as the Fuel Masters kept themselves in contention for a playoff spot after snapping a five-game slide and improving their record to a 3-6 slate. 

Their fate, however. is not entirely on their hand anymore as they hope that no one among Converge, NorthPort, and Rain or Shine breach the five-win mark to force a four-team deadlock at the eighth spot and pray that the quotient system would favor them.

Five players scored in double-digits for the Fuel Masters with Matthew Wright finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds while Jason Perkins flexed his muscle inside with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Tyler Tio and Aljun Melecio chipped in 12 and 11 respectively while Larry Muyang added 10 points and eight rebounds.

After an 18-11 tally in favor of Phoenix in the opening frame, the Fuel Masters turned it up a notch higher on both ends of the floor in the second frame limiting the FiberXers to just nine while exploding for 29 points.

Phoenix limited Converge to just 20 points, tied for the lowest output in the first half in the league’s history to build a commanding 47-20 lead at the break and never looked back the rest of the way.

No player in FiberXers uniform reached double-digit in scoring with Abu Tratter and Tyrus Hill finishing with nine points apiece. Converge was also totally abandoned by its three-point shooting – a potent weapon of the squad during its two-game win streak – shooting a measly 1-of-19 clip from beyond the arc.