Meralco, with KJ McDaniels now leading the way, vows to give it all vs leader Bay Area | Inquirer Sports
NOT BOLTING FROM A FIGHT

Meralco, with KJ McDaniels now leading the way, vows to give it all vs leader Bay Area

/ 05:20 AM November 04, 2022

Meralco, with KJ McDaniels now leading the way, vows to give it all against leader Bay Area

KJ McDaniels (No. 32) will team up this time with Cliff Hodge and the Bolts. —PBA IMAGES

The arrival of new import KJ McDaniels gives Meralco a tested talent it can rely upon. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Bolts still face a gargantuan task climbing out of their miseries.

The Bolts, however, will not just give up without trying as they face leading Bay Area at the resumption of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup eliminations on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Despite the adversity, we will go into the game fighting to stay alive,” coach Norman Black said as Meralco parades McDaniels after going 1-5 with fellow National Basketball Association veteran Johnny O’Bryant, who played brilliant at times but never seemed to be the winner that the Bolts are looking for.

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McDaniels, familiar to PBA fans having reinforced TNT and NLEX in the past, will try to lead a Meralco turnaround in a bid to pluck a spot in the quarterfinals.

The former Houston Rocket is already in town, even posing for a photo with teammate Raymond Almazan’s son at practice.

“KJ’s first practice went well,” said Black. “He is just adjusting and trying to learn our system as quickly as possible.”

But McDaniels will have to do more for Meralco, with Chris Newsome still out with a calf injury. Other key players such as Chris Banchero, Aaron Black and, recently, Cliff Hodge also got hurt during the course of the campaign.

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And with Bay Area, on top with six wins against one defeat and poised to virtually secure the first quarterfinal seat in the midseason conference, the challenge will be doubly hard for Meralco.

“The match up versus Bay Area will be tough especially since Hodge will be out with an ankle sprain and New[some] is still out with his calf injury,” said Black.

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The 3 p.m. match followed by the 5:45 p.m. duel between struggling sides Rain or Shine and NorthPort usher in the start of the short schedule for the first week of November following the All Saints’ Day break.

Red hot Converge goes for a fourth straight triumph when it meets NLEX on Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

TNT, dealing with the controversy surrounding Mikey Williams’ suspension for repeated misconduct and a two-game skid that dropped its record to 3-4, aims to hand Terrafirma a 24th straight loss in the other game.

Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer wrap up the three-day slate with a blockbuster affair on Sunday at the Big Dome. The two teams have each won their last two games to gain some stride in their quest for favorable slots in the playoffs.

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Magnolia, which two Sundays earlier lost for the first time this conference, faces slumping Blackwater in the curtain-raiser. Rust could play a role for the Hotshots after their game last Oct. 29 against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters was postponed due to Typhoon “Paeng.”

TAGS: KJ McDaniels, Meralco

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