|Tony Bishop did not show any kind of rust in the PBA's return to action after a prolonged Christmas break. PBA Images|
MANILA—KJ McDaniels put up an impressive scoring outburst, but Tony Bishop had the last laugh in their import battle as Meralco stays undefeated in the PBA Governors' Cup through a 110-100 win over NLEX on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
In the league's first game back after over a month of layoff, the Bolts moved up to 3-0 in the standings after their strong start turned out to be enough to keep the Road Warriors at bay in the end.
Meralco sizzled quickly in the first quarter, dropping 33 points and holding NLEX to just 18.
The Road Warriors began getting their groove offensively with McDaniels at the helm, but Bishop and the rest of the Bolts kept their own offensive game going and remained on top, 62-45, at halftime.
NLEX slowly pulled off a comeback bid in the second half, coming to as close as eight, 100-108, with 37 seconds remaining, but the team's late attack was not enough to steal the win.
Bishop finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and one block for Meralco, which momentarily tied Magnolia at the top of the standings.
The Hotshots will take on the TNT Tropang Giga later Friday for a shot to take back solo leadership.
Chris Newsome added 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Allein Maliksi had a conference-high 17 markers, three boards, one dime, one steal, and one block.
Cliff Hodge had his own double-double with 11 markers and 12 caroms alongside two dimes.
McDaniels made 41 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three blocks for NLEX, which dropped to its second straight loss after a 4-0 start.
In his PBA debut, Matt Nieto put up 10 points off the bench, most coming from the team's late rally, one rebound, and two assists.
Marion Magat, on the other hand, was held scoreless in his first game back as a Road Warrior.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno