Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-2) vs. Seoul SK Knights (1-2)

December 26, 2023

5 mins

Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-2) vs. Seoul SK Knights (1-2)
Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-2) vs. Seoul SK Knights (1-2)

Written by EASL

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Can the Bolts build off the historic night in Macau?

December 27, 2023 – PhilSports Arena, Manila, Philippine

Storylines

  1. Bolts coming off a historic night in Macau

Crowds crashed onto center court after the Meralco Bolts’ historic victory against Ryukyu Golden Kings in Studio City Macau on December 13, as the Bolts became the first Philippine team to win an EASL game since 2019.

Guard Chris Newsome was the hero in that game, scoring 27 points, including a 4-point play in the dying seconds to send the game to overtime. He would add another six points in the extra frame to give the Bolts the come-from-behind victory.

With Meralco on a high, can they build their momentum and keep their Final Four hopes alive?

  1. Lofton’s iso game takes charge

Zach Lofton has been a revelation for the Meralco Bolts since joining the team in late November.

While the Bolts were used to a more team-orientated offense when Suleiman Braimoh was around, they have transitioned to a more isolated offense since Lofton joined the team.

Lofton relies heavily on his isolation game to get points, and it has helped the Bolts in the EASL. The American swingman has scored 35 points in each of his two games played in EASL, placing him only behind SK’s Jameel Warney in league scoring.

Will the Bolts continue to rely on Lofton’s iso game, or do they have something else drawn up their sleeve?

  1. Does Warney have help?

SK Knights forward Jameel Warney has been a force in EASL this season, averaging a league-high 42 points per game.

Unfortunately, in the two EASL games he played, he outscored his teammates 84-67. Both games resulted in losses.

SK will need to find a source outside Warney if they don’t want to put Warney at risk of injury.

By the Numbers

Meralco Bolts (Philippines – PBA)

- Team History:

  • Founded: 2010
  • Honors: 4x PBA Governors’ Cup runners-up (2015-16, 2016-17, 2019, 2021)
  • 2022-23 PBA Governors’ Cup
  • Regular season record: 7-4
  • Playoffs: defeated Magnolia Hotshots 113-107 in Quarterfinals; loss to TNT Tropang Giga 3-1 in semifinals

- EASL 2023-24 Season record: 1-2

  • November 15, 2023: 89-61 loss against Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE)
  • November 29, 2023: 97-92 loss against New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+)
  • December 13, 2023: 97-88 win over Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Zach Lofton – 35.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Prince Ibeh – 9.0 rpg
  • Assists: Chris Newsome – 3.0 apg
  • Steals: Prince Ibeh & Aaron Black – 2.0 spg
  • Blocks: Prince Ibeh – 2.3 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • Home vs. Seoul SK Knights (KBL) – December 27, 2023
  • Home vs. New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+) – January 3, 2024
  • Away vs. Seoul SK Knights (KBL) – February 7, 2024

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Season record: 6-2

  • November 8, 2023: 107-102 win over Rain or Shine
  • November 11, 2023: 91-84 win over Blackwater Bossing
  • November 19, 2023: 93-83 loss against San Miguel Beermen
  • November 26, 2023: 109-95 win over TNT Tropang Giga
  • December 3, 2023: 97-94 win over NLEX Road Warriors
  • December 10, 2023: 125-99 win over NorthPort Batang Pier
  • December 17, 2023: 105-99 win over Converge FiberXers5
  • December 22, 2023: 110-96 loss against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Zach Lofton – 35.7 ppg
  • Rebounds: Cliff Hodge – 8.1 rpg
  • Assists: Zach Lofton – 4.3 apg
  • Steals: Chris Newsome – 1.0 spg
  • Blocks: Brandon Bates – 1.0 bpg

Seoul SK Knights (South Korea – KBL)

- Team History:

  • Founded: 1997
  • Honors: 3x KBL Champions (1999-00, 2017-18, 2021-22)
  • 2x EASL Runners Up (2019 Terrific 12, 2023 EASL Champions Week)

- 2022-23 KBL season:

  • Runners-up in 2022-23 KBL season
  • Regular season record: 36-18
  • Second in the regular season
  • Playoffs: defeated Jeonju KCC Egis 3-0 in quarterfinals; defeated Changwon LG Sakers 3-0 in semifinals; lost to Anyang KGC 4-3 in KBL Finals

- EASL 2023-24 Season record: 1-2

  • October 18, 2023: 80-79 loss against Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE)
  • November 1, 2023: 82-69 win over Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE)
  • November 8, 2023: 90-72 loss against New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Jameel Warney – 42.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Leon Williams – 12.7 rpg
  • Assists: Kim Sun Hyung – 6.0 apg
  • Steals: Leon Williams & Juan Gómez de Liaño – 2.0 spg
  • Blocks: Jameel Warney – 2.0 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • Away vs. Meralco Bolts (PBA) – December 27, 2023
  • Home vs. New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+) – January 31, 2024
  • Home vs. Meralco Bolts (PBA) – February 7, 2024

- EASL History:

  • 2023 EASL Champions Week: Seoul SK Knights went 2-1, defeating Bay Area Dragons 92-84 and PBA side TNT Tropang Giga 80-69 in the Group Stage. They lost to KBL side Anyang KGC 90-84 in the Final.
  • 2019 Terrific 12: Seoul SK Knights went 3-1, beating PBA side Blackwater Elite and B.LEAGUE side Chiba Jets in the Group Stage. SK defeated CBA side Zhejiang Lions in the semifinals before falling to CBA side Liaoning Flying Leopards in the finals.

- KBL 2023-24 Season record: 16-8

  • October 21, 2023: 89-74 win over Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters
  • October 22, 2023: 85-80 win over Suwon KT Sonicboom
  • October 24, 2023: 90-79 win over Goyang Sono Skygunners
  • October 27, 2023: 78-67 loss against Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus
  • October 29, 2023: 96-94 loss against Daegu KOGAS Pegasus
  • November 4, 2023: 69-50 loss against Changwon LG Sakers
  • November 11, 2023: 82-80 win over Seoul Samsung Thunders
  • November 12, 2023: 106-76 loss against Wonju DB Promy
  • November 16, 2023: 76-74 win over Daegu KOGAS Pegasus
  • November 18, 2023: 102-87 win over Suwon KT Sonicboom
  • November 20, 2023: 82-75 win over Seoul Samsung Thunders
  • November 24, 2023: 86-80 win over Wonju DB Promy
  • November 26, 2023: 84-77 loss against Goyang Sono Skygunners
  • November 30, 2023: 87-73 loss against Changwon LG Sakers
  • December 2, 2023: 74-72 loss against Busan KCC Egis
  • December 3, 2023: 85-71 win over Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters
  • December 7, 2023: 78-75 win over Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus
  • December 12, 2023: 91-82 loss against Wonju DB Promy
  • December 14, 2023: 81-69 win over Daegu KOGAS Pegasus
  • December 16, 2023: 85-77 win over Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus
  • December 19, 2023: 85-71 win over Suwon KT Sonicboom
  • December 21, 2023: 80-70 win over Goyang Sono Skygunners
  • December 23, 2023: 64-62 win over Changwon LG Sakers
  • December 25, 2023: 89-74 win over Seoul Samsung Thunders

- KBL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Jameel Warney – 25.5 ppg
  • Rebounds: Jameel Warney – 11.5 rpg
  • Assists: Kim Sun Hyung – 5.2 apg
  • Steals: Kim Sun Hyung & An Young Jun – 1.7 spg
  • Blocks: Jameel Warney – 1.1 bpg

Players to Watch

Meralco Bolts

#11 Chris Newsome – SG

- USA NCAA Division II: New Mexico Highlands (2008-11)

- Philippines NCAA UAAP: Ateneo de Manila (2013-14)

  • 2014 UAAP Mythical Team

- 2015 PBA Draft: 4th overall pick – Meralco Bolts

  • 2023 PBA All-Star
  • 2023 PBA All-Defensive Team
  • 2016 PBA Rookie of the Year
  • 2016 PBA All-Rookie Team
  • 2017 PBA Slam Dunk Contest champion

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 18.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.0 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season:

  • 13.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.6 apg

#3 Zach Lofton – SG

- USA NCAA Division I: Illinois State (2013-14), Texas Southern (2016-17), New Mexico State (2017-18)

  • 2017 AP Honorable Mention All-American
  • 2017 SWAC Player of the Year (Texas Southern)
  • 2017 First-team All-SWAC (Texas Southern)
  • 2017 SWAC Newcomer of the Year (Texas Southern)
  • 2018 First-team All-WAC (New Mexico State)

- Former NBA player (Detroit Pistons)

- Former NBA G League player (Grand Rapids Drive)

- Germany: ProA – Rostock Seawolves

- Kuwait: Kuwaiti Division I – Kazma

- Lebanon: LFB – Dynamo Lebanon

- Libya: LBL – Al-Ahly Benghazi

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 35.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.0 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season:

  • 35.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.3 apg

#0 Prince Ibeh – C

- USA NCAA Division I: Texas (2012-16)

  • 2016 NCAA DI Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

- Former NBA D League Player (Long Island Nets)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 14.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.3 apg

Seoul SK Knights:

#5 Kim Sun Hyung – PG

- South Korea: KBL – Seoul SK Knights

  • 2011 KBL Draft: 2nd overall pick
  • 2x KBL Champion (2017-18, 2021-22)
  • 2013 KBL regular season champion
  • 2x KBL MVP (2013, 2023)
  • 2023 KBL Guard of the Year

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 8.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 6.0 spg

- 2023-24 KBL season stats:

  • 10.5 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.9 rpg, 1.0 spg

#34 Jameel Warney – C

- USA NCAA Division 1: Stony Brook (2012-2016)

  • 3x AP honorable mention All-American (2014-2016)
  • 3x NCAA America East Player of the Year (2014-2016)
  • 3× NCAA All-America East First Team (2014–2016)
  • 2× America East Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016)
  • 2013 NCAA America East Rookie of the Year
  • 2016 NCAA America East tournament MVP
  • No. 20 retired by Stony Brook University

- Former NBA player (Dallas Mavericks)

  • NBA career stats: 3 games – 5.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg

- Former NBA G-League player (Texas Legends, Westchester Knicks)

  • 2018 All-NBA G-League First Team

- 2017 FIBA AmeriCup MVP

- 2017 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year

- South Korea: KBL – Seoul SK Knights

  • 3x KBL Import of the Year (2020, 2022, 2023)
  • 3x All-KBL Team (2020, 2022, 2023)
  • 2023 KBL Top Scorer (24.0 ppg)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 42.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg

- 2023-24 KBL season stats:

  • 25.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 3.9 apg

#9 Juan Gómez de Liaño – PG

- University: University of the Philippines (2017-19)

  • 2017 UAAP Rookie of the Year
  • 2018 UAAP Mythical Team

- 2022 PBA D-League MVP (2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg

- 2023-24 KBL season stats:

  • 5.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.5 spg

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