KJ McDaniels is returning to the Philippine Basketball Association this early — and he will be suiting up for a new team.
The former National Basketball Association campaigner who previously played for TNT and NLEX is headed for his third tour of duty, this time as import of Meralco, which is bringing him as the third reinforcement this conference.
Bolts mentor Norman Black confirmed the news to Daily Tribune in a text message.
“Our import this Friday will be KJ McDaniels,” Black said in a short message, adding that he is now free to play for other teams after securing his release from NLEX.
Measured a shade below 6-foot-6, McDaniels used to play in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
He led the Tropang Giga and the Road Warriors to the playoffs in the two seasons he played in the league.
Three years ago, McDaniels nearly led the Tropang Giga to the championship round, but lost to Allen Durham and the Bolts in the semifinals series.
Last year, McDaniels saw action for the Yeng Guiao-mentored Road Warriors squad and powered it to a second-best finish in the elimination round. He, however, was forced to go home to be at the side of his wife, who was about to give birth.
McDaniels will have a tough task of turning around the fortunes of the slumping Bolts team that has been struggling this conference.
Meralco only had a win to show in six games and is facing elimination for the first time after five straight playoff finishes, including two finals stints.
McDaniels is tipped to play for the Bolts’ next game on Friday when they battle tournament leader Bay Area.
The 29-year-old McDaniels will take over the spot of Jessie Govan, the replacement import of original choice Johnny O’Bryant.
Govan was supposed to come in as Meralco’s second import, but was forced to go home after being measured over the 6-foot-10 height limit.