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PBA: Alas, McDaniels star as NLEX deals NorthPort OT heartbreak


KJ McDaniels came through in overtime as NLEX dealt NorthPort yet another heartbreak, 120-113, to collect its second win in a row in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Friday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The returning import dropped 40 points, 11 of which he made in the extra period that saw him give the Road Warriors the lead for good, 114-111, through a big three-point play conversion with 1:55 left to play.

He shot an impressive 61-percent clip from the field, and also collected 15 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and two steals.

“I’m satisfied. I’m very satisfied with KJ. Especially knowing that he’s maybe about 75 to 80-percent fit,” lauded head coach Yeng Guiao of the former NBA cager, who first played in the league for TNT two years ago.

McDaniels’ heroics also preserved the efforts of Kevin Alas, who was responsible for sending the game into overtime by sinking all three pressure-packed free throws to make it 102-all with 1.5 seconds left in regulation.

The floor general earned the trip to the stripe as he baited Cameron Forte for a foul while in the act of shooting from outside, giving his side the chance to survive after coughing up a 14-point lead early in the game.

Alas finished with 21 points, four rebounds, and four assists in an error-less outing in the win that served as perfect follow-up to their opening day conquest of the new-look San Miguel Beer a couple of days ago.

“Kevin just had great composure sinking three free throws,” said Guiao. “That’s what you call handling the pressure. He is a pressure player, he can do that. We expect him to do that. And he delivered for us [those] crucial points.”

Big man Michael Miranda supplied 13 points, as rookie Calvin Oftana helped out as well with 10 markers, nine boards, three dimes, and a steal.

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Meanwhile, the defeat is certainly a dejecting one for the Batang Pier, who suffered a disappointing 85-87 loss to Alaska last Wednesday that also saw them mount a comeback only to flunk in the dying seconds.

Greg Slaughter led the orange shirts with 22 points and seven rebounds. Arwind Santos added 20 points and seven caroms as well.

It was the 2013 MVP again who led NorthPort’s comeback, scoring 12 in the fourth quarter that saw him produce seven in a 10-0 run to flip a five-point deficit to a 91-86 lead with less than six minutes left on the clock.

Forte even widened their lead to six, 100-94, following a close shot with 2:41 to go, but they couldn’t protect their hold of the lead.

“This is a talented team, they have the size, they have the talent and they’ve lost two close games which they could have won so they could have been easily 2-0 so we respect what this team can do,” said Guiao of NorthPort.

The loss also wasted the efforts of Robert Bolick, who finished with a double-double of 18 points and 14 assists. Forte made 17 points and 23 rebounds, while Jamie Malonzo chipped in 14 markers and eight rebounds.

NorthPort hopes to break through in the season-ending conference on Sunday, but it won’t be easy as it will battle San Miguel at 4:00 p.m.

The Scores

NLEX (120) – McDaniels 40, Alas 21, Miranda 13, Oftana 10, Trollano 8, Quiñahan 8, Magat 4, Cruz 4, Semerad 4, Varilla 3, Rosales 3, Paniamogan 2.

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NorthPort (115) – Slaughter 22, Santos 20, Bolick 18, Forte 17, Malonzo 14, Taha 9, Ferrer 7, Balanza 7, Rike 1, Elorde 0, Grey 0.

Quarterscores: 30-19, 57-50, 84-75, 102-102, 120-115.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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