MERALCO hit timely shots in the end game to preserve the stellar play of KJ McDaniels and beat NorthPort, 107-102, on Thursday in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Philsports Arena.
McDaniels scored 32 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, breaching the 20-rebound mark for the second consecutive game to lift the Bolts to a 2-0 win-loss record, tying Converge for the early lead in the team standings.
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Despite McDaniels’ double-double effort, Meralco still needed crucial field goals and free throws in the end game after blowing a 12-point lead and momentarily conceding the lead late.
Chris Newsome had 16 points and Bong Quinto added 15 markers including key baskets to bring the Bolts back to life after they trailed by one, 97-96, on a short stab by JM Calma with 2:48 left.
Quinto hit a lay-up after that Calma basket before McDaniels and Newsome made the free throws on their way to a 105-99 advantage.
“They always play as tough,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “I have no reason why but they are one of the teams we have a tough time with. I know that they haven’t won a championship or anything like that but whenever we play them, they play well. They beat us the last time we played last conference.”
Marcus Weathers had 29 points and 14 rebounds, while Roi Sumang tallied 23 points for NorthPort, which fell to 0-2 while waiting for star guard Robert Bolick to reach an agreement on a new contract with the club.
Meralco 107 – McDaniels 32, Newsome 16, Hodge 15, Quinto 15, Maliksi 14, Almazan 8, Jose 4, Black 3, Banchero 0, Johnson 0, Pasaol 0, Rios 0, Pascual 0.
NorthPort 102 – Weathers 29, Sumang 23, Tolentino 17, Chan 10, Munzon 6, Calma 5, Taha 4, Zamar 3, Balagasay 3, Ayaay 2, Caperal 0, Dela Cruz 0, Salado 0.
Quarters: 26-22; 49-43; 77-67; 107-102.