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    Black expects KJ McDaniels to get even better as Meralco makes late push

    Nov 11, 2022
    kj mcdaniels
    PHOTO: jerome ascano

    ANTIPOLO CITY – KJ McDaniels won his second straight game for Meralco on Friday night despite coach Norman Black admitting the former NBA player has yet to reach top shape.

    The 29-year-old McDaniels put together an all-around game of 26 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists in the Bolts’ 102-98 win in overtime over Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Ynares Center.

    The Bolts posted back-to-back victories for the first time this conference, ironically after bringing in the undersized McDaniels in a conference that has an import height limit of 6-foot-10 below.

    See: Resurgent Meralco survives Blackwater fightback to win it in OT

    Black said the former Houston Rocket brings good vibes to the Bolts, who rekindled their playoffs bid following the hard-earned win.

    “He’s a solid player, he’s a good player,” said the Meralco coach of the import who replaced 6-foot-10 Johnny O’Bryant. “He’s just a smart player, and the players have a lot of confidence in him, that’s why you can see we’ve uplifted our level of plays the last couple of games.”

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    And yes, McDaniels is not in top shape yet, according to Black.

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      “He’s not in great shape right now, because when we called him to come over, he was actually not playing,” said the veteran coach. “So he’s like playing himself into shape and we expect him to get better as we go along.”

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      There’s no definite timeline Meralco has given McDaniels to be in his best condition, although Black expects it’s just a matter of time before the import finally gets back into the fighting form he showed in his first two previous stints in the league with TNT and NLEX.

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      SEE ALSO

      “It’s pretty amazing that he wasn’t playing and he’s out here playing almost the entire game at this point. So I think he’ll just get better,” said the Meralco coach.

      Incidentally, McDaniels has yet to face his former teams the Tropang Giga and Road Warriors, along with league leader Magnolia and defending champion San Miguel.

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      “I still think we’re far from playoff contention right now. We play TNT on Wednesday, that’s an important game for us. We still have Magnolia coming up, we still have San Miguel coming up, as well as NLEX. So it’s going to be a difficult road for us,” said Black.

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      PHOTO: jerome ascano
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