MANILA - Stopping Meralco's prolific import remains the top priority for TNT, even after the KaTropa drew first blood in their semifinal series in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.
The KaTropa hacked out a 103-94 triumph in Game 1 on Sunday, with KJ McDaniels putting up 38 points and 14 rebounds, while Jayson Castro had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals.
Afterward, however, head coach Bong Ravena said their focus should still be on limiting Meralco import Allen Durham, who had 32 points and 21 rebounds in a losing effort. He scored 16 points in the final quarter, but could not lead the Bolts to a come-from-behind win.
"Nothing to celebrate. We have to find ways how to stop Durham," said Ravena. "'Yun ang problema namin. So, gawan pa namin ng paraan. Game 1 lang 'yan, mahaba pa 'tong series, so off to the next one."
Durham was not at his most efficient, going only 12-of-28 from the field. But the KaTropa struggled to contain him, as he repeatedly overpowered his defenders inside the paint. TNT was fortunate that he was not as effective in involving his teammates, tallying just 3 assists while committing 7 turnoveres.
"Basta, kailangan ma-limit 'yung score niya," said Ravena. "If we can stop Durham, much easier siguro. Mas makakatulong sa amin. We have to make stops, especially sa kanya."
TNT's McDaniels says he is ready to step up to the plate if needed. Troy Rosario, Kelly Williams, and Yousef Taha alternated in defending Durham, with McDaniels lurking to help.
When asked if he wants to take on the challenge of stopping Durham, McDaniels said: "Most definitely."
"It's a good challenge for me, helps my game get better as well," he said. "You know, he's a force to be reckoned with, so we just gotta keep finding ways to limit him."