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McDaniels hits 41 as TNT hammers Blackwater

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McDaniels, TNT too much for Blackwater (1:38)

First impressions are important and KJ McDaniels made a great one with 41 points and 22 rebounds in his first game with TNT. (1:38)

The TNT KaTropa had every reason to focus on the positives on Wednesday, where it came out firing on all cylinders to dump the Blackwater Elite 135-107 to open its PBA Governors' Cup run.

But in a game where everything seemed to go their way, it was easy for the KaTropa to spot areas they could improve.

"We're happy with the win but defensively, we cannot afford to give our opponent 106 points," coach Bong Ravena said. "Our goal is to still play defense, make stops, give no easy layups."

For the most part, the KaTropa were able to do against an Elite side that struggled to put the ball in the hoop. That was largely due to KJ McDaniels, who was as dominant as advertised on both ends of the floor and finished with 41 points, 22 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and two steals.

One blemish in his rousing debut might have been in the way he handled the rock as McDaniels turned the ball over nine times.

"He has to give the ball early. The ball should not stay with him for long. But that's part of the adjustments," said Ravena. "We have to keep the ball moving. Obviously we're going to make it a point to tell him that."

"I felt like I forced a lot of action, I just gotta see the plays earlier," McDaniels said. "Just have to make crisper passes, make sure my teammates are seeing the passes earlier when the defense is helping. I'll definitely cut those down turnovers."

Roger Pogoy also added 22 points, while Jayson Castro dropped a 17-point, 12-assist double-double in the wire-to-wire win for TNT, which connected on 60 percent of its shots in the game, including an impressive 14-for-25 clip from downtown.

The team didn't waste time trying to put the Elite away early as it built a 51-28 lead midway into the second period. Blackwater showed some life by coming to within 10, 53-43, but the trio of McDaniels, Castro and Pogoy hit timely baskets to steady the ship for the dominant KaTropa before halftime.

Things were more of the same in the second half as Troy Rosario (18 points) and Don Trollano (17) heated up help their side stay in control until the final buzzer.

Despite the huge win, Ravena said he doesn't want this to be the bar that TNT sets for itself.

"This isn't the gauge, the team that you have to match up with. Obviously that's San Miguel," he said. "It's only the first game, we'll have tougher opponents. Of course if we can win early as much as possible, the better.

Bobby Ray Parks scored 39 points in a losing cause for the Elite, who failed to draw a productive game from the returning Marqus Blakely. He finished with four points on 1-for-4 shooting, four rebounds, five assists and five turnovers in the loss.

THE SCORES

  • TNT 135 - McDaniels 41, Pogoy 22, Rosario 18, Castro 17, Trollano 17, Vosotros 7, De Leon 5, Magat 4, D. Semerad 4, Carey 0, Washington 0, CasiƱo 0.

  • Blackwater 107 - Parks 39, Maliksi 18, Sumang 14, Belo 12, Digregorio 11, Jose 8, Blakely 4, Alolino 2, Dario 2, Cortez 0, Sena 0, Desiderio 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Cruz 0.

  • Quarters: 34-19, 63-46, 97-80, 135-107.

EXTRA DRIBBLES

  • Parks was a team-worst -28 despite flirting with a 40-point game.

  • TNT missed the services of Ryan Reyes, Tony Semerad and Kelly Williams, but Ravena expects the trio to make their return soon. "Maybe Ryan will be back on our third game. Tony's getting his rhythm in practice, and Kelly also. Hopefully in a week or two we'll be complete."