|KJ McDaniels will be bidding goodbye to the Road Warriors. PBA Images (file photo)|
MANILA--NLEX will be parading a new import for the PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals.
Coach Yeng Guiao confirmed on Thursday that current foreign player KJ McDaniels will be leaving the Philippines right after the team's last elimination round matchup against Ginebra on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
“In fairness to KJ, he already told us about his situation as early as last year, saying his wife expects a baby by March. We didn’t know that the tournament will be stretched until April because of the suspension of the games,” Guiao said through the team's website.
The PBA postponed all its games for January due to a spike in COVID-19 cases brought about by the omicron variant.
Although the Road Warriors will finish their elimination round stint on Friday, the eliminations won't be over until next week.
The former NBA veteran is currently among the frontrunners for the Best Import for the season-ending conference, averaging 30.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game 10 matches in.
McDaniels leaving the team before the playoffs will surely hurt his bid to win the said award.
“Sayang, kasi ang laki ng tsansa niya na mag-Best Import and at the same time, we also like our chances of making a deep run with him as reinforcement in the playoffs, or hopefully, make our first ever finals appearance. But we have to deal with it,” Guiao added.
McDaniels will have his swan song at 6 p.m. Friday against fellow Best Import contender Justin Brownlee as NLEX looks to join Magnolia among the teams with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Entering the fray for the Road Warriors come the next round is Cameron Clark.
According to the team, the 30-year-old swingman made the six-foot-six import height limit for this conference.
After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Clark has become a journeyman in Europe, playing in the domestic leagues of Italy, Israel, Turkey, France, and Germany.
His upcoming stint with NLEX will be Clark's first basketball foray in Asia.
Clark is expected to arrive in the Philippines on Friday, but it is yet to be known if he will watch the NLEX-Ginebra clash later in the night.
On the other hand, while McDaniels will be bidding goodbye to the Road Warriors, they will be saying hello to Justin Chua as he is expected to play his NLEX debut against the Gin Kings.
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