Meralco arrested a two-game skid at NLEX’s expense, 114-98, to revive its quarterfinal bid in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Thursday at the Philsports Arena.
The Bolts overcame a slow start and ended the first quarter with a 14-3 blitz to establish a 27-16 lead, and would stay in the lead from that point on towards collecting their fourth win of the season-ending conference.
“I thought we just played better tonight,” said head coach Norman Black of the win that enabled his team to join Magnolia at sixth in the standings (4-3).
KJ McDaniels powered Meralco with 31 points and 21 rebounds, continuing his fine play for the second game in a row after being held to conference-lows of 18 markers and 13 boards in a loss to San Miguel last February 9.
“We got a good game from KJ, which we didn’t get for the last couple of games. He had 30 and 20. If he can give us that type of performance then we would have a chance of beating the opponents,” Black said.
Allein Maliksi came up big as well with 19 points on 60-percent shooting from the floor, including a 4-of-8 clip from beyond the arc.
The veteran gunner joined hands with their import in the fourth quarter, combining for 19 points to save their side after witnessing the Road Warriors inch within just five points, 90-85, from a 21-point deficit.
“In the end, we’re able to get some stops, Allein hit some big shots for us and KJ was really a dominant player in the paint, which really helped us. (Chris) Newsome did well. A lot of guys contributed to the victory,” said Black.
Chris Newsome finished with 18 points, five rebounds, and eight assists while Aaron Black chimed in 15 markers in the victory,
NLEX was led by the 29 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists of Wayne Selden Jr. in the loss that foiled their bid of building another win streak.
Don Trollano had 19 points and six rebounds, while Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Kevin Alas had 16 and 13 points, respectively, for the Road Warriors, who could’ve earned an outright quarterfinal entry had they won.
Meralco 114 – McDaniels 31, Maliksi 19, Newsome 18, Black 15, Hodge 9, Caram 8, Almazan 7, Banchero 5, Quinto 2, Jose 0.
NLEX 98- Selden 29, Trollano 19, Ganuelas-Rosser 16, Alas 13, Semerad 9, Nieto 9, Rosales 3, Miranda 0, Pascual 0, Gabo 0.
Quarterscores: 27-16, 56-46, 87-71, 114-98.