Balanza Jerrick Balanza of Converge shoots against two Phoenix Super LPG defenders in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. PBA photo

Phoenix sustains winning streak

December 3, 2023 Robert Andaya 288 views

PHOENIX Super LPG found an unlikely hero in Ken Tuffin to escape with a heart-stopping 99-98 victory over hardluck Converge FiberX in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Tuffin delivered the game-winner — a lay-up from an assist by Jason Perkins — as the Fuel Masters extended their winning streak to four games and tightened their grip on solo second place at 5-1 behind unbeaten Magnolia Chicken Timplados.

Aljun Melecio had a chance to turn the game around for Converge, but his baseline jumper missed its target and Javee Mocon hauled down the defensive rebound to seal the win.

“There were options in that play, and one of the options there was Ken if there was no other one to pass to,” said Phoenix coach Jamike Jarin.

“Good thing Perk (Perkins) saw it, there was some scramble on the back screen for J3 (Williams) and fortunate for us Ken made the basket,” he added.

Import Johnathan Williams led Phoenix with 27 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, while Perkins added 20 points and seven rebounds.

Ricci Rivero also did well with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and three assists in 21 minutes of play.

Tom Vodanovich had a solid game with 35 points on 14-of-20 shooting and nine rebounds in 40 minutes of action for Converge, which plummeted to its fifth straight setback.

Vodanovich nearly did it for Converge.

The New Zealand-born Vodanovich nailed a long a triple following Williams’ two misses from the free throw line and then cleaned up a Melecio miss to give Converge a 98-97 lead with 10.4 seconds left.

Deschon Winston added 15 points and six rebounds, Bryan Santos contributed 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Jerick Balanza and Justine Arana had 10 points each.

The scores:

Phoenix (99) — Williams 27, Perkins 20, Rivero 12, Mocon 9, Tuffin 8, Tio 7, Alejandro 6, Manganti 5, Garcia 3, Jazul 2, Soyud 0, Daves 0, Verano 0, Camacho 0.
Converge (98) — Vodanovich 35, Winston 15, Santos 11, Balanza 10, Arana 10, Racal 9, Ambohot 3, Tallo 3, Caralipio 2, Melecio 0, Fornilos 0, Wong 0.
Quarterscores: 27-27, 47-48, 70-70, 99-98.