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KJ McDaniels drops 33 on former team as NLEX edges TNT

KJ McDaniels exploded for 33 points against his former club. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--On its quest to clinch possibly the PBA's only "pandemic grand slam", TNT hit an early roadblock in no less than its former import.

KJ McDaniels tore his former team apart with a 33-point performance, but NLEX had to escape a wild finish against TNT for a 102-100 win in the Wednesday nightcap of the PBA Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Road Warriors preserved the win despite missing out on huge chances to close out the game earlier.

Kelly Williams put the Tropang Giga on the verge of stealing the win after making a left-wing three-pointer with 41 seconds left that cut the Road Warriors' lead to just one, 101-100.

He then stole the ball from McDaniels and had a chance to put TNT on top, but Kevin Alas blocked the layup attempt and McDaniels recovered the ball.

In the next possession, however, Kris Rosales failed to secure a Calvin Oftana pass and was called for a backcourt violation, giving the Tropang Giga 19.1 seconds to try to take the lead.

But McKenzie Moore was caught stepping on the sideline while receiving an RR Pogoy inbound pass, giving the ball back to the Road Warriors with 14.5 seconds left.

Don Trollano, however, could only make 1-for-2 from the free-throw line off a Moore foul, and TNT had 10.2 seconds to at least force overtime.

NLEX's defense held forth down the stretch as TNT failed to even attempt a shot in the end.

McDaniels, who went 13-for-23 from the field, also had eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block to lead the Road Warriors, who are now 3-0 in the standings.

Trollano and JR Quinahan each added 15 markers.

Kevin Alas, who earlier in the day was named the first PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the season-ending conference, chipped in 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, and one block off the bench.

Williams finished with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, one block, and two steals for the Tropang Giga.

Moore came up just shy of a triple-double in his PBA debut with 15 markers, 14 boards, and nine dimes with one steal and one block, but he too committed five errors in total.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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