The Meralco Bolts survived a tough overtime clash against the TNT Tropang Giga, 124-117, to equalize in their best-of-five semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Meralco, which lost Game 1 by 30 points, 110-80, bounced back in this one as they tied the series, 1-1.
Import KJ McDaniels, limited to just 12 points in the series opener, exploded for 39 points in Game 2, including some key baskets late in regulation. He also contributed 20 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and three blocks.
Aaron Black, meanwhile, led the locals with 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including six crucial points in OT, alongside 10 assists.
Meralco held a double-digit halftime lead, 59-49, but saw the advantage wiped away in a big third quarter from TNT thanks to some hot shooting from Mikey Williams, who scored 17 of his team’s 37 points in the period. The two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 86-apiece.
The Bolts got a pair of huge buckets from McDaniels late in the fourth, giving them a 112-109 lead late but his TNT counterpart, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, kept TNT’s hopes alive as he drew some late fouls.
Hollis-Jefferson got the first whistle while shooting a three, but could only knock down two of his three free throw attempts as the Tropang Giga came back to within one, 112-111, with 21.5 ticks left on the clock. After a crucial stop on the other end, the TNT import had an opportunity to give his team back the lead but a split from the line was the best he could do, and that sent the two teams to an extra five minutes to decide the game.
But in the extra period, it was Black who took over, scoring six unanswered points as part of an 8-0 blast that gave Meralco a 122-114 advantage with 2:14 remaining before cruising to the win.
Williams led TNT with a team-high 29 points, including six three-pointers, while Hollis-Jefferson posted 27 points, 15 boards, and nine assists in the loss.
The two teams will look to break the their deadlock on Wednesday for the crucial Game 3.
—JMB, GMA Integrated News
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