PBA: KJ McDaniels powers Meralco past Rain or Shine in opener
MANILA, Philippines—Using a balanced effort from its full-strength cast, Meralco rolled past Rain or Shine, 105-87, to get its Governors’ Cup campaign off the right foot Sunday night at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Bolts drew double-digit outings from returning import KJ McDaniels, Chris Banchero, and Allein Maliksi to help the club to a rousing start in the conference where they are perennial bridesmaids.
“It was basically defensive stops and getting the rebounds which are very, very important,” said coach Norman Black.
“We also couldn’t score that much in the fourth quarter but at the same time we were able to stop them almost everytime time down the court so it really worked out for us.” he added.
McDaniels, who served Meralco in the second tournament, finished with 27 points and 23 rebounds. Banchero added 17 while Maliksi 16 in the contest where the Bolts enjoyed leads as big as 21 points.
“It’s a big confidence booster,” said McDaniels, who also played for an NLEX side that was previously coached by Yeng Guiao. “We had a chance to restart and come back with the right focus. We just have to take this game and learn from it.”
Chris Newsome, who missed the majority of the Commissioner’s Cup, played his first game back and finished with 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.
Rain or Shine got the goods from cornerstone Rey Nambatac, who turned in 21 points. Michael Qualls, formerly of NorthPort, had 14 that went with 15 rebounds.
James Yap, who was coming from a hiatus, also had 14 points as young guns Gian Mamuyac and Anton Asistio chipped in 10 each in the scoring effort
Meralco returns to work this Thursday, hoping to annex a second win against NorthPort here at the same venue.
Rain or Shine, meanwhile, hopes to break into the win column when it plays TNT on Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.