By Jonas Terrado
TNT KaTropa leaned on import KJ McDaniels down the stretch to outlast Japan’s Niigata Albirex, 99-90, Thursday and end its campaign in the East Asia Super League Terrific 12 on a high note at the Tap Seac Pavilion in Macau.
McDaniels scored 12 of the KaTropa’s final 17 points to complete a win that came despite the absence of fellow import McKenzie Moore and ace guard Jayson Castro.
The KaTropa placed second in Group D at 1-1 but failed to make the semis of the five-day tournament after China’s Liaoning Flying Leopards clinched the spot by virtue of their two wins over the PBA squad and the Japanese club.
TNT lost to Liaoning, 96-91, during its initial assignment last Tuesday.
Roger Pogoy had 27 points while Almond Vosotros added 12, including a three-pointer that put TNT ahead 94-88 with 1:34 remaining.
McDaniels gave a preview of what to expect in the PBA Governors’ Cup when his offensive outburst carried TNT after the two teams forged their final deadlock at 82-all with over five minutes left in the fourth.
He scored seven straight points at one point, giving the KaTropa a 91-85 lead, 2:47 left in the fourth.
Nick Perkins scored 34 points for Niigata Albirex in a losing effort.