KJ McDaniels finally got the support he did not have two nights ago when TNT defeated Meralco in Game Three of their 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series, Thursday evening.
The former NBA cager did everything he could for the KaTropa back in Game Two, eventually finishing with 51 points. But his efforts went down the drain as they absorbed a 94-114 loss.
But come Game Three, the locals showed up and were a huge factor behind the 101-97 win.
Jayson Castro and Roger Pogoy were finally back in their usual selves after shooting a combined 0-for-15 from the field last game. This time around, they produced 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Troy Rosario was the top-scoring local with 25 points, 15 of which were via threes. Ray Parks, meanwhile, had 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. All starters finished in twin digits.
McDaniels himself only had 18 points — he struggled in the first half as he only made one of his 11 attempts — and 14 boards but that doesn’t matter for him since his teammates played well.
“It’s a team sport. I can score as many points as I can and we don’t win, it doesn’t help what we’re trying to accomplish. My teammates got it going early,” said McDaniels.
“They did a great job. That’s what a team is for. The team has your back when you’re struggling or having bad nights, which was the case for me tonight,” added the Clemson product.
“I just had to step up on defense, make sure my teammates are involved so they have confidence as well.”
TNT has moved just one win away from the Finals that start on January 8, and it has an opportunity to punch its ticket on Game Four this Saturday. But McDaniels isn’t looking too far ahead.
“We have to stay locked in. Can’t celebrate because they’re not a team we can just sit back and just play with. They’re a great team and they’ve shown that. They’ve challenged us every game.
“We have to come out here with the right mentality again, stay focused, and play defense,” he said.