MANILA, Philippines – NLEX neutralized import Brandon Brown after a sizzling start en route to a 114-102 win over retooled San Miguel in the opening day of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena on Wednesday, December 8.
Brown erupted for 19 first-quarter points for the Beermen but got limited to just 17 points for the rest of the game as the Road Warriors came back from an 11-point deficit to kick off its campaign with a victory.
Returning import KJ McDaniels showed the way for NLEX with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals, bucking a lethargic first-quarter display that saw him tally only 5 points on a paltry 1-of-8 shooting.
With McDaniels at the forefront of their attack, the Road Warriors spread the wealth as five other players scored in double figures, with Kevin Alas leading the local contribution with 12 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds.
Don Trollano finished with 12 points and 4 rebounds, Philip Paniamogan had 11 points, while Jericho Cruz and JR Quiñahan added 10 points apiece in the win.
Quiñahan and Trollano delivered the goods late as they netted 8 and 7 points, respectively, in a 19-4 run that gave NLEX a comfortable 107-88 cushion with five minutes remaining.
New acquisition Kris Rosales made an immediate impact for the Road Warriors with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Marion Magat put up 8 points and 3 rebounds in his first game back with NLEX.
Brown – who churned out 36 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals – proved unstoppable early as he conspired with five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo for a 39-28 San Miguel lead in the second quarter.
However, Brown eventually cooled down and the Road Warriors seized the upper hand going into the break, 52-49, off two straight three-pointers from McDaniels and Trollano.
Fajardo backstopped Brown with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Vic Manuel chimed in 17 points and 7 rebounds in his Beermen debut after being traded for Arwind Santos.
While Manuel put up decent numbers, Simon Enciso had a quiet game of 2 points and 2 rebounds in 25 minutes as he transitions to his role at San Miguel following his trade from Terrafirma for Alex Cabagnot.
NLEX 114 – McDaniesl 27, Alas 12, Trollano 12, Paniamogan 11, Cruz 10, Quiñahan 10, Rosales 9, Magat 8, Oftana 7, Semerad 5, Miranda 3.
San Miguel 102 – Brown 36, Fajardo 20, Manuel 17, Perez 11, Lassiter 7, Romeo 6, Enciso 2, Tautuaa 2, Pessumal 1.
Quarters: 22-28, 52-49, 86-77, 114-102.