In the next PBA Governors Cup, KJ McDaniels will support the Bolts after receiving a second tour of duty for Meralco.
McDaniels will return for the season-ending conference, according to Coach Norman Black.
The decision to bring McDaniels back was first agreed upon by Black and his coaching staff, but Black later stated that the squad “still have to approve it with upper management.”
As an undersized import for Meralco in six Commissioner’s Cup games, McDaniels averaged 27.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
He came in as Johnny O’Bryant’s late substitution and led the Bolts to three straight victories, one of which was against the top-seeded Bay Area Dragons, to keep their playoff hopes alive.
However, the Bolts stumbled down the stretch, dropping their final three games, including a heartbreaking 92-81 loss to NLEX, and were unable to go past the round of 16. In the NLEX game, Meralco had a lead of up to 18 at the half but was unable to maintain it.
The 29-year-old McDaniels will compete in the Governor’s Cup three times, having already represented TNT in 2019 and NLEX in 2021.
Despite being an import, he did not play for NLEX in the playoffs despite leading the team to the no. 2 seed at the end of the eliminations, helping the Tropang Giga and Road Warriors advance to the semifinals of the meet.
As was previously said, Coach Norman Black stated that the Bolts coaching staff as a whole is in agreement with him about the 29-year-old McDaniels serving a second tour of duty with the team in the upcoming season-ending conference.
After Meralco’s final match in the mid-season conference, in which it was defeated by defending champion San Miguel, 113-108, at the Philsports Arena, the coaching staff met with McDaniels.
Black specifically stressed that in order for McDaniels to return to the next conference, he needed to be in better form.
McDaniels, a second-round choice of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 draft, arrived suddenly to take Johnny O’Bryant’s spot in the middle of the tournament.
Meralco’s attempt to make a final playoff push after winning their first three games was abruptly boosted by his arrival.
Unfortunately, the Bolts dropped their next two games, including a disappointing 92-81 loss to NLEX in a game they led by 18 at the half and which eliminated them from contention for a quarterfinal spot.
McDaniels, a graduate of Clemson University, previously competed in the season-ending competition for TNT and NLEX, with both of his appearances resulting in semifinal appearances for both teams.