IMPRESSIVE START. CJ Perez sizzled for 25 points to lead the Beermen beats Converge 114-96, at the start of the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig on Wednesday (Dec. 7, 2022). The Beermen can wrap up the best-of-three series on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of PBA Images)

MANILA – Converge's gallant stand in the fourth quarter fell short as San Miguel escaped with a 114-96 win at the start of the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

The Beermen's first-half dominance, in which they held the FiberXers to just 13 points in the first quarter before dropping 34 in the second quarter, turned out to be enough as the latter made things interesting in the fourth period.

Converge started the final frame hot and cut the lead down to 11, 98-87, with 6:02 left.

However, SMB regained its composure in the end and finally sealed the blowout win

CJ Perez led the Beermen, who are now 1-0 up in the best-of-three series, with 25 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Devon Scott added 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals, while June Mar Fajardo, one of the key players missing in the FiberXers' elimination round win over the Beermen, had 19 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, one block and three steals.

SMB can close out the series on Saturday night also at the PhilSports Arena.

Quincy Miller's 41-point blast along with 13 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals fell short as Converge now has its backs against the wall after being in the running for the once-to-advance advantage in the quarterfinals for most of the eliminations.

Justin Arana and Aljun Melecio each added 11 points with the former also grabbing 10 rebounds for his own double-double. (PNA)