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

November 28, 2023

5 mins

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

Written by EASL

Related Tags

Kings are heavy favorites, Meralco draft new imports

November 29, 2023 – New Taipei Xinzhuang Gymnasium, New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei

Storylines

  1. Can the Kings keep their winning streak alive?

The New Taipei Kings are scorching hot going into Wednesday’s matchup against the Meralco Bolts. The Kings entered the week with a 5-0 start in the P. LEAGUE+ and have won their lone EASL game against Champions Week runners-up Seoul SK Knights.

Star player Jeremy Lin has gotten into his groove after a slow start, leading the team with 23.2 points per game in P. LEAGUE+.

Byron Mullens has also played well, averaging a double-double with 18.2 points and 11 rebounds in five games.

Kenny Manigault was the EASL Player of the Game in the first game against Seoul SK Knights, with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and five steals against the KBL side. This included a spectacular windmill dunk on the fastbreak.

The Kings are 5-0 at home this season. Will the winning streak continue?

  1. Can the Bolts get charged up?

The Meralco Bolts have cooled down after a hot start to the PBA season, where they won their opening two games.

After dropping their EASL debut against defending B.LEAGUE champions Ryukyu Golden Kings on November 15, they came home and lost to EASL Champions Week entrants San Miguel Beermen.

They returned to winning ways after the FIBA international break, defeating EASL rivals TNT Tropang Giga 109-95 on Sunday.

The Bolts only managed to put up 61 points in their EASL debut. Can the team find an extra charge when they take on the heavily favored New Taipei Kings?

  1. Strength vs. Speed

The Kings rely heavily on their transition game and outgun their opponents. They averaged 10.8 steals in five P. LEAGUE+ games this season and recorded 10 steals in their EASL debut against the Knights, resulting in 14 points off turnovers.

EASL Player of the Game Kenny Manigault recorded five steals in the game against Seoul and has averaged 3.8 steals domestically.

Meralco rely on their interior game. In their loss against Ryukyu, they outscored their opponents 28-20 inside the paint.

Suleiman Braimoh has been leading the Bolts thus far. However, he is set to miss his second straight EASL game due to visa issues.

Prince Ibeh has taken over as the team’s lone import, coming one rebound short of a double-double in Meralco’s loss against Ryukyu. He finished the game with 10 points and nine boards.

The Bolts have also picked up Zach Lofton as their third import. The 31-year-old shooting guard played one game for the Detroit Pistons in the 2018-19 NBA season. He last played for Al Ahly Benghazi in the Libyan Division I Basketball League.

The Bolts will have to lean heavily on their interior presence if they are to have any shot of winning this game.

By the Numbers

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: 1-0

  • November 8, 2023: 90-72 win over Seoul SK Knights (KBL)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Kenny Manigault – 22.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Kenny Manigault – 11.0 rpg
  • Assists: Jeremy Lin – 9.0 apg
  • Steals: Kenny Manigault – 5.0 spg
  • Blocks: Christian Anigwe – 5.0 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • Home vs. Meralco Bolts (PBA) – November 27, 2023
  • 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: 5-0

  • November 11, 2023: 96-89 win over Taipei Fubon Braves
  • November 18, 2023: 111-87 win over Hsinchu 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

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

  • Points: Jeremy Lin – 23.2 ppg
  • Rebounds: Byron Mullens – 11.0 rpg
  • Assists: Jeremy Lin – 6.4 apg
  • Steals: Kenny Manigault – 3.8 spg
  • Blocks: Joseph Lin – 1.5 bpg

Meralco Bolts

- 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: 0-1

  • November 15, 2023: 89-61 loss against Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Chris Newsome – 11.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Prince Ibeh – 9.0 rpg
  • Assists: Anjo Caram – 4.0 apg
  • Steals: Aaron Black – 2.0 spg
  • Blocks: Alvin Pasaol & Prince Ibeh – 1.0 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • Away vs. New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+) – November 29, 2023
  • Home vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE) – December 13, 2023
  • 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: 2-0

  • 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

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

  • Points: Suleiman Braimoh – 31.5 ppg
  • Rebounds: Suleiman Braimoh – 13.0 rpg
  • Assists: Chris Newsome – 5.0 apg
  • Steals: Suleiman Braimoh – 2.5 spg
  • Blocks: Suleiman Braimoh – 1.0 bpg

Players to Watch

New Taipei Kings

#7 Jeremy Lin – G

- USA NCAA Division 1: Harvard (2006-2010)

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

- 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: 2020 CBA All-Star (Beijing Ducks)

- Chinese Taipei: 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:

  • 12.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 9.0 apg

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ season:

  • 23.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 6.4 apg

#5 Byron Mullens – C

- USA NCAA Division 1: Ohio State (2008-2009)

- Former NBA player (Oklahoma City Thunder, Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers)

  • NBA Career Stats: 189 games – 7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.5 apg

- Former NBA G League player (Tulsa 66ers, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Lakeland Magic)

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ season:

  • 18.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.8 apg

#1 Joseph Lin – G

- USA NCAA Division 3: 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:

  • 21.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.0 apg

- 2023-24 P. LEAGUE+ season:

  • 18.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.0 apg

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:

  • 11.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season:

  • 15.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.0 apg

Zach Lofton - SG

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

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

- Former NBA player (Detroit Pistons)

- Former NBA G League player (Grand Rapids Drive)

#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:

  • 10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season:

  • 10.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.0 apg

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