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    KJ McDaniels gets Meralco coaches' nod for Governors' Cup stint

    Dec 3, 2022
    Meralco KJ McDaniels Norman Black
    The Meralco coaching staff sat down with KJ McDaniels shortly after the team played its final game in the Commissioner's Cup.
    PHOTO: Luigi Trillo on Facebook

    MERALCO still needs clearance with management regarding its plans to bring KJ McDaniels back as import for the PBA Governors Cup.

    Coach Norman Black said he and the Bolts coaching staff are all on the same page regarding the 29-year-old McDaniels having another tour of duty with the franchise in the coming season-ending conference.

    But Meralco management also has a say on whether the former NBA player could be given another chance or not.

    “We’ve (coaching staff) discussed it and we really want to bring him (McDaniels) back, but we still have to clear it with upper management,” said Black after the team ended its campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup on Friday.

    See: San Miguel passes late Meralco test to warm up for Converge showdown

    The Meralco coaching staff sat down with McDaniels shortly after the team played its final game in the mid-season conference that saw it lose to defending champion San Miguel, 113-108, at the Philsports Arena.

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    Specifically, Black mentioned McDaniels needed to be in better shape should he return next conference.

    “That’s our intention and hopefully, we’d be able to do that,” said the multi-titled coach.

    A second-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 draft, McDaniels flew in on short notice as a mid-tournament replacement for Johnny O’Bryant.

    His arrival suddenly sparked Meralco’s bid after winning his first three games to make a late push for a playoffs berth.

    Unfortunately, the Bolts lost their next two outings, including a costly 92-81 setback against NLEX in a game which they led by 18 at the half, that ousted them in the running for a quarterfinals slot.

    But Black said bringing in McDaniels in a conference with a height limit of 6-foot-10 was actually two-fold, with the main intention of breaking him in Meralco’s system earlier in time for the Governors’ Cup, where the import already saw action twice in the past.

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    “That was the reason we brought him in. We knew he would have a difficult time this conference mainly because everybody else is 6-9 abd 6-10 and he’s only 6-4 and-a-half,” added the Meralco coach.

    McDaniels, a product of Clemson University, previously suited up for TNT and NLEX in the season-ending meet, with both stints ending in a semifinals stint for both teams.

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      At the same time, Black lamented injuries hurt the Bolts’ late playoffs push.

      “When we got KJ, we tried to fight back only to lose Raymond in the game against Magnolia,” said the Magnolia coach, referring to big man Raymond Almazan, who hurt his ankle against the Hotshots and was rendered unavailable in the game against NLEX.

      “I’m not saying that would have made a difference in that game, but we really needed him (Almazan) for NLEX, which is another important game for us, and that would have at least given us a playoff,” said Black.

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      The Meralco coaching staff sat down with KJ McDaniels shortly after the team played its final game in the Commissioner's Cup.
      PHOTO: Luigi Trillo on Facebook
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