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

Meralco, with KJ McDaniels now in the lead, vows to give it all up against the Bay Area leader

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

The arrival of new import company KJ McDaniels gives Meralco a tried and tested talent the company can rely on. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Bolts still face a huge task of overcoming their difficulties.

However, the Bolts won’t give up without trying when they face the Bay Area lead at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s knockout on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Despite adversity, we’re going to go into the fight-to-survival game,” coach Norman Black said as Meralco paraded the McDaniels after winning 1-5 with fellow National Basketball Association veteran Johnny O’Bryant, who played brilliantly but never seemed to be the winner the Bolts were looking for.

McDaniels, familiar to PBA fans who have boosted TNT and NLEX in the past, will try to lead Meralco around in a bid to secure a place in the quarterfinals.

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

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

But McDaniels will have to do more for Meralco, with Chris Newsome still sidelined with a calf injury. Other key players like Chris Banchero, Aaron Black and more recently Cliff Hodge were also injured during the campaign.

Painters vs Batang Pier

And with the Bay Area, headed with six wins and one defeat and almost ready to secure its first quarterfinal seat in the mid-season conference, the challenge will be doubly tough for Meralco.

“The game against the Bay Area is going to be tough, especially since Hodge will sprain his ankle and New[some] Black said.

The 3 p.m. match, followed by a 5:45 p.m. match between the struggling sides Rain or Shine, and NorthPort kicking off the short-term schedule for the first week of November following the Holidays break St.

Red hot Converge has its fourth straight win against NLEX on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

TNT, dealing with controversies surrounding Mikey Williams’ repeated misconduct suspension and two-board skates dropping its record to 3-4, in order to let Terrafirma lose its 24th consecutive game remaining.

Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer round off the three-day program with a blockbuster Sunday event at the Big Dome. Both teams have won their last two matches to make some progress in their quest for favorable positions in the knockout stages.

Magnolia, who two Sundays earlier had lost for the first time in this conference, faced a falling Blackwater in the closing game. Rust could play some role for the Hotshots after their match on October 29 last year against the Rain Painters or Shine Elasto was postponed due to typhoon “Paeng”.

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