Meralco Falls to Jeremy Lin’s New Taipei Kings in EASL Away Game
MANILA, Philippines–An impressive display by debuting import Zach Lofton was not enough for Meralco to avoid a 97-92 road loss to former NBA player Jeremy Lin and the New Taipei Kings in the East Asia Super League at Xinzhuang Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Lofton scored 35 points after being tapped as second import for the continental tournament, but the Bolts fell to 0-2 in Group B as Lin led the way for the Kings to pull off a win before their home fans in New Taipei City.
The defeat, despite leading by seven in the third, kept PBA teams winless in the EASL’s first season under a home-and-away format.
TNT is currently 0-3 in Group A after losses to Japan’s Chiba Jets and Taiwan’s Fubon Braves.
The Tropang Giga play the KBL champion Anyang Jung Kwan Jang and Rhenz Abando on Dec. 6 in South Korea.
Lin scored 25 points and was mainly responsible for the Kings’ rally from a 54-47 deficit in the first three minutes of the second half.
His brother Joseph and import Kenny Manigault were also key in New Taipei taking control of the game in the fourth, leading by 10 on a couple of occasions that forced Meralco in desperate mode.
Prince Ibeh, Meralco’s other import, had 18 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks for the Bolts, whose next EASL match is on Dec. 13 with a designated home match against Japan’s B.League champion Ryukyu Golden Kings in Macau.
Chris Newsome finished with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals to emerge as Meralco’s top local performer.
Meralco resumes its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Sunday against NLEX at Philsports Arena in Pasig City with import Su Braimoh.
Braimoh has not played in the EASL due to visa issues that prevented him from playing the previous two games on foreign soil.