‘KJ’ is back in the PBA

November 2, 2022 Robert Andaya 464 views

MERALCO is expected to parade a new import in NBA veteran KJ McDaniels when it takes on league-leading Bay Area Dragons in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A dependable scorer during his playing days with TNT ( 2019) and NLEX (2021), the 6-6 McDaniels will take the place of another former NBA player Johnny O’Bryant as Meralco looks to turn its fortunes following a dismal 1-5 start.

O’Bryant is averaging 26 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in six games for the Bolts of coach Norman Black.

But O’Bryant’s 1-5 record with the 12th-place Meralco was also the team’s worst six-game start in four years.

Enter McDaniels.

The 29-year-old native of Birmingham, Alabama, who was drafted No. 32 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 NBA Draft, first saw action for TNT in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. He led the Tropang Giga to the semifinals before losing to the Bolts in five games.

In 2021 Governors’ Cup, he powered NLEX to the second-best record after the elimination round. But he left the team before the playoffs to attend to his pregnant wife in the United States.

McDaniels averaged 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.6 steals for the Road Warriors.

When he plays for Meralco on Friday, he will have played for all three teams under the MVP Group.

Meralco is the second team to replace its import after San Miguel Beer also brought in Devon Scott to take the place of Diamond Stone last Oct. 17.

Games Nov. 4

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. — Bay Area vs. Meralco
5:45 p.m. — NorthPort vs Rain or Shine