Phoenix survives late SMB surge to clinch a win in the PBA On Tour Preseason

Tyler Tio’s big game saved Phoenix against SMB (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Phoenix Super LPG Fuelmasters averted a disappointing collapse and kept its poise in the most crucial stretch of the game to hold off the San Miguel Beermen, 106-101, in the ongoing PBA On Tour Preseason tournament last May 24, 2023, held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The duo of Tyler Tio and Raul Soyud saved Phoenix in the last two minutes of the ball game after the Beermen completed a 26-point comeback in the final frame.

After a slow start in the first half, the Beermen caught the Fuelmasters off guard after blitzing their way in the last 24 minutes of their showdown.

However, Phoenix was able to hold their ground and received clutch plays from Tio and Soyud who just took over when their team needed them the most.

Tio, a sweet-shooting sophomore from the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), buried a cold-blooded three-pointer with only 40 seconds left in the game that put them back in the driver’s seat.

After the Tio trey, Soyud increased Phoenix’s lead to three points after completing a pick-and-roll play with only 27 seconds left in the game.

San Miguel had one last chance to equalize the ball game but their last drawn play failed to convert which led to a foul on Daniel Atienza of Phoenix.

Despite the inexperience, Atienza delivered for the Fuelmasters and drilled both of his attempts from the charity stripe to officially put SMB away.

Tio led the charge for Phoenix after dropping 14 points while physical center Larry Muyang an veteran RR Garcia each contributed 11 points.

On the other hand, it was a welcoming sight to see for the Beermen after finally having Terrence Romeo back who immediately made an impact after tallying 27 points, seven assists, and five rebounds.

The Beermen is still without their six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Jajardo who is still nursing a knee injury he suffered in the EASL Champions Week.