MANILA, Philippines–Meralco coach Norman Black is banking on a much-improved showing from import KJ McDaniels and a better clip from the outside in a bid to force TNT to a deciding Game 5 in their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series.
The Bolts were pushed to the brink of elimination after the Tropang Giga grabbed a 2-1 lead with a 99-80 win on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum which Black cited a number of factors.
“Hopefully, KJ will bounce back in Game 4, and [we] play better as a team,” said Black.
McDaniels had 30 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, but Black felt the former NBA player didn’t match the dominant showing he had in Game 2 when Meralco evened the series with a 124-117 overtime victory.
The other side saw import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson score 40 points and 13 rebounds to lead TNT’s triumph.
“I thought KJ was exceptional in Game 2 and dominated. [But in Game 3], [Hollis-Jefferson] was exceptional and dominated,” Black said.
Meralco also struggled from the rainbow region, making just 5-of-33 shots. Black also cited that some of those were open opportunities that the team couldn’t capitalize on.
The Bolts made only 11 of 41 attempts for a 26-percent clip in the first two games of the series.
“I thought that really played a big part [in Game 3] is the fact that we just didn’t shoot well,” the Bolts mentor said.
A Meralco victory will send the series to a decider on Sunday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City for the right to take on Barangay Ginebra in a best-of-seven title series.
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