Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-3) vs. New Taipei Kings (2-0)

January 2, 2024

4 mins

Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-3) vs. New Taipei Kings (2-0)
Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-3) vs. New Taipei Kings (2-0)

Written by EASL

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Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (1-3) vs. New Taipei Kings (2-0)

January 3, 2024 – PhilSports Arena, Manila, Philippines

Storylines

  1. Awaiting Linsanity

Jeremy Lin joined his brother Joseph last offseason, adding formidable firepower to the New Taipei Kings.

 

The former NBA star was unstoppable in his first season in P. LEAGUE+, averaging 26.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 19 games for the Kaohsiung 17LIVESteelers.

 

The Kings’ talisman is yet to turn in a really dominant performance in EASL this season. He is averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 8 assists in his two games.

 

However, a fiery performance in the Kings’ home game against Meralco on November 29 helped the Taipei side secure victory in a hard-fought game.

 

Jeremy has plenty of fans in basketball-crazy Philippines, as well as in Taipei. Will Asia’s biggest star put on a show for them in Manila on Wednesday night?

 

  1.   Underdogs Meralco can bite

Meralco Bolts have impressed despite their 1-3 record. After losing heavily in their first game against Ryukyu Golden Kings, the PBA side’s following three games have been close affairs. They have gone 1-2 and outscored their opponents 269-261 .

 

Against the Kings in New Taipei City in November, Meralco were leading after three quarters. The P. LEAGUE+ side went five of seven from beyond the arc in the final frame, ultimately beating the Bolts 97-92.

The Bolts come into this game off a heartbreaking one-point loss against Seoul SK Knights last week. Coach Luigi Trillo revealed after the game that several of his squad had been down with Covid.

 

They may not be favorites, but Meralco are not to be written off going into this game.

 

  1.   Kings cool off after hot start

The New Taipei Kings started the season with a nine-game winning streak in EASL and P. LEAGUE+ combined.

 

However, since December 17, they have gone 1-4 domestically.

 

The Kings have only played two EASL games this season, winning both. Group B is finely poised, Seoul SK Knights and Ryukyu Golden Kings both on 2-2 and Meralco on 1-3.

 

A win for the Kings on Wednesday would virtually secure Final Four qualification. A loss would blow the group wide open.  

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: 1-3

  • 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)
  • December 27, 2023: 81-80 loss against Seoul SK Knights (KBL)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Zach Lofton – 34.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Prince Ibeh – 9.5 rpg
  • Assists: Chris Newsome – 3.8 apg
  • Steals: Chris Newsome – 2.0 spg
  • Blocks: Prince Ibeh – 2.8 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • 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 FiberXers
  • 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

New Taipei Kings

- Team History:

  • Founded: 2021
  • Honors: 2022-23 P. LEAGUE+ runners-up

- 2022-23 P. LEAGUE+ Runners-Up

  • Regular season record: 27-13
  • P. LEAGUE+ Regular Season Champions
  • Playoffs: defeated Dreamers 3-1 in semifinals; lost to Taipei Fubon Braves 4-2 in P. LEAGUE+ Finals

- EASL 2023-24 Season record: 2-0

  • November 8, 2023: 90-72 win over Seoul SK Knights (KBL)
  • November 27, 2023: 97-92 win over Meralco Bolts (PBA)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Kenny Manigault – 20.5 ppg
  • Rebounds: Kenny Manigault – 11.0 rpg
  • Assists: Jeremy Lin – 8.0 apg
  • Steals: Kenny Manigault – 3.0 spg
  • Blocks: Christian Anigwe – 2.5 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • Away vs. Meralco Bolts (PBA) – January 3, 2024
  • Home vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE) – January 10, 2024
  • Away vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE) – January 24, 2024
  • Away vs. Seoul SK Knights (KBL) – January 31, 2024

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ Season record: 8-4

  • November 11, 2023: 96-89 win over Taipei Fubon Braves
  • November 18, 2023: 111-87 win over Hsinchu Toplus Lioneers
  • November 19, 2023: 123-113 win over Taoyuan Pauian Pilots
  • November 25, 2023: 98-92 win over Taoyuan Pauian Pilots
  • November 26, 2023: 109-93 win over Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers
  • December 3, 2023: 92-81 win over Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers
  • December 9, 2023: 107-86 win over Taoyuan Pauian Pilots
  • December 17, 2023: 100-90 loss against Taoyuan Pauian Pilots
  • December 23, 2023: 111-106 win over Taipei Fubon Braves
  • December 24, 2023: 120-104 loss against Formosa Dreamers
  • December 30, 2023: 105-98 loss against Hsinchu Toplus Lioneers
  • December 31, 2023: 104-96 loss against Taipei Fubon Braves

- P. LEAGUE+ 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Jeremy Lin – 21.8 ppg
  • Rebounds: Byron Mullens – 12.0 rpg
  • Assists: Jeremy Lin – 5.8 apg
  • Steals: Kenny Manigault – 3.6 spg
  • Blocks: Byron Mullens – 1.4 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:

  • 16.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.8 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season stats:

  • 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:

  • 34.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season stats:

  • 35.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.3 apg

#7 Cliff Hodge – PF

- USA NCAA Division II: Hawaii Pacific (2008-09)

- 2012 PBA Draft: 4th overall pick – Meralco Bolts

  • PBA Mythical Second Team (2017)
  • 2× PBA All-Defensive Team (2021, 2023)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 7.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season stats:

  • 7.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.8 apg

New Taipei Kings

#7 Jeremy Lin – G

- USA NCAA Division I: Harvard (2006-2010)

  • 2× First-team All-Ivy League (2009, 2010)
  • 2008 Second-team All-Ivy League

- Former NBA player (Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors)

  • NBA Career Stats: 480 games – 11.6 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 spg
  • NBA: 2019 NBA Champion (Toronto Raptors)
  • 2012 NBA TV Social Breakout Player of the Year

- Former NBA G League player (Reno Bighorns, Erie Bayhawks, Santa Cruz Warriors)

- China: CBA – Beijing Ducks

  • 2020 CBA All-Star

- Chinese Taipei: P. LEAGUE+ (Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers, New Taipei Kings)

  • 2023 P. LEAGUE+ Assists Leader (Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers)

- 2012 Time 100: Most Influential People of the Year

- 2012 ESPY Award for Breakthrough Athlete of the Year

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 18.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 8.0 apg

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ season stats:

  • 23.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.5 apg

#55 Kenny Manigault - F

- USA NCAA Division I: Wichita State (2009-10)

- USA NCAA Division II: USC Aiken (2010-11)

- USA NAIA: Pikeville (2011-13)

- Team History:

  • Australia: NBL1 – Goldfields Giants (2016)
  • Poland: I Liga – AZS Koszalin (2016-17)
  • Finland: Korisliiga - Tampereen Pyrintö (2017-19); Helsinki Seagulls (2022)
  • Asia: ABL – Macau Black Bears (2019-20)
  • Israel: Israeli National League - Elitzur Yavne B.C. (2020-21)
  • Canada: CEBL – Fraser Valley Bandits (2021)

- Chinese Taipei: P. LEAGUE+ - New Taipei Kings

  • 2023 P. LEAGUE+ Steals Leader
  • 2023 P. LEAGUE+ All-Second Team
  • 12th player in professional basketball history to record a quadruple-double

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 20.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 5.0 apg

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ season stats:

  • 16.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 5.8 apg

#1 Joseph Lin – G

- USA NCAA Division III: Hamilton College (2011-15)

- Chinese Taipei: Taipei Fubon Braves (2015-22)

  • 2x P. LEAGUE+ Champion (Taipei Fubon Braves: 2021, 2022)
  • 2019 SBL Champion (Taipei Fubon Braves)
  • 4x SBL All-Star (2016-2019)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 13.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ season stats:

  • 13.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.1 apg

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