Photo from PBA

NLEX caught another big fish in Philippine Cup champion TNT after pulling off a thrilling 102-100 win Wednesday, Dec. 15 and continued its unbeaten start in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Import KJ McDaniels, facing his former team, had another big performance on both ends as the Road Warriors raised their record to a perfect 3-0 slate after fending off the Tropang Giga rally in the final minutes.

McDaniels finished with 33 points and eight rebounds to give NLEX its first 3-0 start since the 2019 Governors’ Cup.

“Ang susi sa magandang start ng NLEX ay si KJ McDaniels,” Guiao said, pointing out the all-around skills he has brought since the conference began.

TNT had multiple chances to complete the comeback but could not capitalize on a string of NLEX miscues.

Kelly Williams missed a layup off a turnover while import McKenzie Moore stepped out of bounds after another error with NLEX clinging to a 101-100 lead on both possessions.

Don Trollano split his two free throws, 10 seconds left, giving TNT a chance. But Jayson Castro kept the ball too long and NLEX was able to hang on.

It was a treat for the crowd of almost 1,500, most of them cheering on the Tropang Giga side that trailed by a high of 11 which came in the second quarter and spent most of the game trying to narrow the gap.

Four other NLEX players scored in double figures, with Trollano and Quinahan putting up 15 apiece, PBA Press Corps Player of the Week Kevin Alas 11 and rookie Calvin Oftana with 10.

Kelly Williams had 16 points in the loss for TNT, import McKenzie Moore had 15 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, new addition Gab Banal added 14 and Philippine Cup Finals Most Valuable Player Mikey Williams made 12 points, six rebounds and two assists.

The scores:

NLEX 102 — McDaniels 33, Quinahan 15, Trollano 15, Alas 11, Oftana 10, Semerad 8, Cruz 8, Ighalo 2, Rosales 0, Paniamogan 0.

TNT 100 — Williams K. 16, Moore 15, Banal 14, Williams M. 12, Erram 11, Pogoy11, Khobuntin 9, Castro 9, Reyes 3, Heruela 0, Marcelo 0.

Source: Manila Bulletin (