Phoenix secures twice-to-beat bonus in playoffs by holding off Meralco

Phoenix Fuel Masters clinch one of the coveted twice-to-beat incentives in the playoffs

The Phoenix Fuel Masters secured a crucial win on Wednesday, January 10, as they defeated Meralco with a final score of 93-83 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. RJ Jazul and Jason Perkins delivered the killer blows for the Fuel Masters, sealing their spot in the playoffs and clinching one of the coveted twice-to-beat incentives.

Jazul’s booming triple with 1:16 left in the game and Perkins’ short stab helped the Fuel Masters secure the win and grab a solo second spot with an impressive 8-2 slate. With this victory, Phoenix is now assured of a spot in the Top 4, even if they lose their final game against TNT. This puts them in a favorable position even if teams like Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer, and Meralco manage to forge a four-way logjam from the second to the fifth spots.

The Fuel Masters’ triumph comes after defeating the Kings and the Beermen in their elimination matchups, giving them a still assured superior quotient in such a worst-case scenario.

Perkins shone in the game, leading the way with 22 points and eight rebounds, while import Johnathan Williams contributed 19 points and 15 boards. Tyler Tio finished with 15 points, and Jazul ended with 13 points built on three triples.

Despite the huge win, the Fuel Masters did not have an easy victory, facing a scare from the Bolts, who trailed by as many as 14 points midway through the final period. Meralco unleashed a last-ditch 11-2 run to come within five, 83-88, but ultimately fell short due to missed opportunities.

Meralco is now tied with the Kings and the Beermen in the third to fifth spots with identical 7-3 records but is in danger of missing out on the race for the twice-to-beat bonus.

Shonn Miller cooled down after a fiery debut, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Banchero and Chris Newsome added 15 and 13 points in the losing effort.

The Luigi Trillo-mentored Meralco team is now in dire need of a victory in their final game against Terrafirma while hoping that either San Miguel or Ginebra drop their last assignments to secure their spot in the playoffs.

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