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KJ McDaniels successful in Meralco debut as Bay Area falls despite Andrew Nicholson's 50

KJ McDaniels tallied 31 points in his Meralco debut. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—KJ McDaniels scored a win in his first game with Meralco as the team spoiled Andrew Nicholson's hot game and beat Bay Area, 92-89, in their PBA Commissioner's Cup battle on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

McDaniels, who last played for NLEX in last season's Governors' Cup, finished with 31 points, but it was a tough grind for him as he went 11-for-33 from the field including a dismal 1-for-13 from beyond the arc.

The locals, however, stepped up for the Bolts as they handed the Dragons only their second loss of the conference despite Nicholson dropping 50.

Bong Quinto essentially won it for Meralco as he scored on a fallaway jumper with 1:16 left for a 90-89 lead.

Nicholson was then called for a three-second violation, giving the ball back to the Bolts, and Raymond Almazan responded by scoring on an undergoal stab to clean up Aaron Black's missed layup with 38 seconds remaining.

Glen Yang missed a potential game-tying triple, but Meralco nearly fumbled the ball and barely crossed the halfcourt line before being called for an eight-second violation.

Allein Maliksi, however, missed two dagger free throws, giving Bay Area 2.8 seconds to force overtime.

Yang tried his luck again from long range, but he once again missed the equalizer and time ran out on the Hong Kong-based squad.

Almazan added 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Bolts, who moved up to 2-5.

Nicholson, in what could potentially be his last game in the conference, also had a double-double with 12 rebounds, but he was accounted for six of the Dragons' 14 turnovers.

Kobey Lam added 23 points, nine rebounds, and one assist.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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