July 17, 2024

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Converge FiberXers Demolish Phoenix Fuel Masters, 104-90, In PBA on Tour

4 min read

Former Ateneo standout Jolo Mendoza and Converge FiberXers trounced the Phoenix Fuel Masters with a commanding 104-90 win, securing their fourth victory in the PBA On Tour at the Ynares Arena in Pasig on July 7.

Mendoza, who is eyeing a spot in the upcoming PBA draft, exploded with an impressive 26-point performance.

His scoring outburst began early, with 21 points in the first half alone. Mendoza’s offensive prowess was on full display when he sank a deep triple to ignite an 8-0 run, extending Converge’s lead to its most significant margin of the game, 94-76.

Expressing his gratitude, the 25-year-old former Ateneo standout described the opportunity given to him as an incredible blessing. Before the game, he had averaged only 1.8 points and 6.04 minutes of playing time. 

However, in the preseason series presented by Arena Plus and sponsored by Bingo Plus, he went 8-of-14 from the field. He played for 31 minutes, showcasing his skills and making the most of the opportunity provided to him.

He reflected on his journey, acknowledging that he still had a considerable distance to cover before realizing his ultimate dream of playing in the PBA.

Nonetheless, he embraced the PBA On Tour as a valuable stepping-stone, seizing the chance to showcase his skills at the professional level.

The contributions of Mendoza’s Converge teammates complemented his exceptional performance.

Mike Nieto chipped in 20 points and nine rebounds, while Kevin Racal added 12 points to the scoreboard. Keith Zaldivar and Alec Stockton also made significant contributions, with Zaldivar scoring 11 points, including crucial three-pointers during a pivotal 14-5 surge that bolstered Converge’s lead in the third and fourth quarters. 

Stockton came close to achieving a triple-double, accumulating nine points, 10 rebounds, and a tournament-high 15 assists.

The loss marked the second consecutive defeat for the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, who fought valiantly despite Mendoza’s early offensive outburst. Sean Manganti scored 15 points, while Javee Mocon and Larry Muyang each contributed double-digit points.

Although Phoenix managed to stay within striking distance, Converge’s strong performance proved insurmountable. Mendoza and Zaldivar ignited a decisive run with their impressive long-range shooting, effectively sealing the victory for the FiberXers.

Converge’s triumph propels them to an even 4-4 record in the preseason series, while Phoenix’s record falls to 3-5. As the PBA On Tour allows undrafted players to showcase their skills, Mendoza and other aspiring athletes seize this unique opportunity to compete at a high level and continue honing their craft. 

With each game, Mendoza aims to improve and inch closer to his long-cherished dream of joining Asia’s premier professional basketball league, the PBA.

The box scores:

CONVERGE 104 —Mendoza 26, Nieto 20, Racal 12, Zaldivar 11, Stockton 9, Ambohot 9, Arana 8, Guinto 5, Ebona 2.

PHOENIX 90 —Manganti 15, Mocon 11, Muyang 10, Tio 9, Garcia 9, Camacho 9, Jazul 8, Lalata 8, Celda 6, Rangel 3, Alejandro 2, Fetalvero 0, Atienza 0.

Quarters: 21-26, 49-45, 72-68, 104-90.

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