Meralco Bolts to Face Ryukyu Without Three Key Players in EASL Opener
Meralco will have to make its East Asia Super League debut without three of its key players. Allein Maliksi, Chris Banchero, and Suleiman Braimoh did not fly with the Bolts for their opening game against the Ryukyu Golden Kings at Okinawa Arena. Maliksi and Banchero are injured, while Braimoh had problems securing a Japanese visa. Despite the setbacks, coach Luigi Trillo assured that the Bolts would still put up a fight against Ryukyu with undermanned reinforcements. “We’ll try to do our best, we’re not going to raise the white flag… It’s a chance for us to show also what we can do. Overall, it’s exciting to be in the EASL,” said Trillo. Prince Ibeh will replace Braimoh as the Bolts’ import, even though he is coming off an injury and has had limited training with the team. The Bolts will face a Golden Kings side with a 1-1 record. Ryukyu will also have former PBA import Allen Durham, Vic Law, Alex Kirk, and Jack Cooley. TNT will square up against the Taipei Fubon Braves at Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium. Tropang Giga aim to even their record at 1-1, this time with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who missed the EASL opener due to gastroenteritis.