|PBA Media Bureau|
By Ricky Manliguis
ANTIPOLO CITY-- KJ McDaniels fired clutch shots down the stretch as TNT Katropa fended a gritty stand by San Miguel for a 114-109 win in the final elimination game of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup Wednesday at the Ynares Center.
The former NBA stalwart sizzled for 44 points, including a booming triple with 34 seconds left as TNT repelled the late-game comeback of the Beermen from 18 points down.
The win, the team's eighth in 11 games, enabled the KaTropa to snap its three-game losing skid and secure third spot and twice-to-beat advantage where they will face defending champions Magnolia in the quarterfinals.
Troy Rosario also came out big for TNT with 30 points, highlighted by seven three-pointers, while RR Pogoy issued 17 markers. Jayson Castro returned to action with 12 points and 11 assists.
TNT was leading by 12, 96-84, in the pay-off period, as SMB instigated a fightback behind import John Holland. His triple even gave the Beermen a one-point lead, 108-107, with 44.1 seconds left.
That lead was short-lived, however, after McDaniels fired the dagger triple.
June Mar Fajardo had a chance to retake the lead with 12.5 ticks remaining, but missed a put-back off his missed free throw. McDaniels and Ryan Reyes sealed the deal with four free throws.
“This game is big for us. We came from three straight losses. Grabe ka-importante ‘yung game na ‘to sa amin," said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
"Buti na lang, our locals stepped up. Jayson is back. Malaking tulong sa team. Troy played really, really well, everybody played well lalo na ‘yung mga locals.”
SMB, which played sans Arwind Santos, Ronald Tubid, and Kelly Nabong due to suspensions, will be relegated to fifth place, and will meet fourth-ranked Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals. Holland came away with 25 points, while Terrence Romeo cashed in 18.
TNT 114 - McDaniels 44, Rosario 30, Pogoy 17, Castro 12; Reyes 5, Parks 4, Washington 2, Williams 0, Digregorio 0, De Leon 0.
San Miguel 109 - Holland 25, Romeo 18, Ross 16, Lassiter 16, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Tautuaa 8, Rosser 1, Pessumal 0.
Quarterscores: 37-25, 53-46, 87-77, 114-109.