PBA: KJ McDaniels beats Meralco in Rain or Shine opener

KJ McDaniels Meralco Bolts PBA

KJ McDaniels. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines—Using a balanced effort from its all-powerful cast, Meralco got off its Governors Cup campaign on the right foot Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City, outlasting Rain or Shine, 105-87.

The Bolts got double-digit scoring from returning imports KJ McDaniels, Chris Banchero, and Allein Maliksi to help the club get off to an exciting start in the conference where they are the perennial frontrunners.

“It was mainly getting defensive stops and rebounds, which are very important,” coach Norman Black said.

“We didn’t score as much in the fourth quarter, but that’s when we were able to hold them down the court almost every time so it really worked for us.” he added.

McDaniels, who served Meralco in the second tournament, finished with 27 points and 23 rebounds. Banchero scored 17 while Maliksi scored 16 in the contest where the Bolts led by 21 points.

“It’s a big confidence booster,” said McDaniels, who also played for an NLEX side previously coached by Ying Guo. “We got a chance to start over 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 to go along with 15 rebounds.

James Yap, who has been coming off a break, also had 14 points as young guns Gian Mamiuk and Anton Asistev each scored 10 points on field goal attempts.

Meralco returns to action this Thursday, hoping for another win against Northport at the same venue.

Rain or Shine, meanwhile, hopes to enter the win column when it plays TNT on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

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