The Meralco Bolts stopped come-backing James Yap from having a bit of fun as they trounced the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 105-87, on Sunday night in the opening match of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
KJ McDaniels showed the way with 27 points and a new career-high 23 rebounds for the Bolts, who will be looking forward to improve their 10th-place finish in the recent Commissioner’s Cup.
McDaniels’ rebounding was one ahead of the 22 he made when he was still with the TNT Tropang Giga when they pulled off a 135-107 win over Blackwater Elite Bossings in the 2019 Governors’ Cup eliminations.
The 29-year-old McDaniels fired 12 points in the last period as the Bolts went on to post their biggest lead at 21, 103-82, with his dunk in the last 1:20.
Chris Banchero added 17 points, while Allein Maliksi drilled in 16 for the Bolts, who moved out of range in the second half following a close 54-all halftime deadlock.
“We didn’t finish the way we wanted in the last conference. But now we have a chance to restart, and come out with the right focus,” said McDaniels.
Rey Nambatac banged in 21 points for the Elasto Painters, but he was held to just seven in the final period.
With the Bolts taking control of the boards with 64 rebounds, they lorded it over inside, with Cliff Hodge assisting McDaniel in the rebounding department.
The Elasto Painters tried to take care of business with their outside shots, but they could only hit two of nine three-point attempts in the final canto.
“We were able to get the rebounds and the defensive stops, which were very, very important. We almost couldn’t score. But we were stopping them. And it helped out for us,” said Bolts’ coach Norman Black.
Yap, a two-time season Most Valuable Player and now San Juan city councilor, has returned and made 14 points, after last playing in the 2021 Philippine Cup, ending an almost three-year absence because injuries and politics.
The Elasto Painters also missed one of their key defensive players in Leonardo Santillan due to injury.
MERALCO 105 – McDaniels 27, Banchero 17, Maliksi 16, Quinto 11, Newsome 10, Hodge 8, Almazan 6, Pasaol 5, Johnson 3, Jose 2, Rios 0, Pascual 0
RAIN OR SHINE 87 – Nambatac 21, Qualls 14, Yap 14, Mamuyac 10, Asistio 10, Norwood 5, Nieto 3, Ponferrada 2, Clarito 2, Torres 2, Demusis 2, Belga 2, Caracut 0, Borboran 0
QUARTERS: 22-24, 54-54, 81-68, 105-87