Game Notes: Group B – Meralco Bolts (0-2) vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (2-1)

December 12, 2023

4 mins

Game Notes: Group B –  Meralco Bolts (0-2) vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (2-1)
Game Notes: Group B –  Meralco Bolts (0-2) vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (2-1)

Written by EASL

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EASL returns to Macau for first time since 2019

December 13, 2023 – Studio City Event Center, Macau

Storylines

  1. Special night in store as EASL partners with Studio City

This Wednesday, EASL returns to the venue where it staged its first-ever games. A special partnership between EASL and Melco Resorts & Entertainment will see this 2023-24 Season clash played at the spectacular Studio City resort in Macau. It will be the first EASL game in Macau since the Terrific 12 in 2019.

PBA Governors’ Cup semifinalists Meralco Bolts face a mighty challenge as they take on Japan B.LEAGUE champions Ryukyu Golden Kings. The winless Bolts will look to build off a strong game against the New Taipei Kings on November 29. The PBA side held the lead against the Kings for three quarters of the game, before faltering in the final frame and losing 97-92.

The Golden Kings got the better of the Bolts the first time around, winning handily at home, 89-61, on November 15. Since then, the B.LEAGUE West Division leaders have gone 4-1 domestically.

  1. Lofton coming off a 54-point effort

Meralco recently signed import, Zach Lofton to replace injured star import Suleiman Braimoh. Braimoh tore his left Achilles during the team’s 97-94 PBA win over NLEX Road Warriors on December 3 and is set to miss the rest of the season.

Since joining the team, Lofton has been impressive. In his Bolts debut against the Kings, in EASL, Lofton outscored Kings’ star Jeremy Lin for a game-high 35 points, on an efficient 58 percent clip.

But it was Lofton’s PBA debut that put his name in the headlines as he recorded an absurd 54 points against North Batang Pier on December 10.

The Bolts will lean heavily on Lofton’s offensive prowess as they search for their first EASL victory.

 

  1. Vic Law is back

The Golden Kings roster looks healthier after welcoming Vic Law back on December 2.

Law had been out for six weeks with a left patellar ligament injury. The swingman was one of the team’s best players prior to the injury, averaging 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds in his first five games in B.LEAGUE this season. Law also contributed 14 points and 12 boards in the Golden Kings’ EASL victory against Seoul SK Knights in October.

Law is slowly getting back up to speed. In four games since his return, he has averaged 8.5 points and 5.2 rebounds.

By the Numbers

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: 0-2

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

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Zach Lofton – 35.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Prince Ibeh – 7.5 rpg
  • Assists: Chris Newsome – 3.5 apg
  • Steals: Prince Ibeh & Aaron Black – 2.0 spg
  • Blocks: Prince Ibeh – 2.0 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • 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: 5-1

  • 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

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

  • Points: Zach Lofton – 54.0 ppg
  • Rebounds: Suleiman Braimoh – 12.0 rpg
  • Assists: Chris Newsome – 4.2 apg
  • Steals: Suleiman Braimoh – 2.2 spg
  • Blocks: Brandon Bates – 1.0 bpg

Ryukyu Golden Kings

- Team History:

  • Founded: 2007
  • 2022-23 B.LEAGUE Champions
  • 2018 EASL Super 8 Champions
  • 4x Japan bj league Champions (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016)

- 2023 B.LEAGUE Champions

  • Regular season record: 48-12
  • B.LEAGUE West District Champions
  • Playoffs: defeated Nagoya Diamond Dolphins 2-0 in quarterfinals; defeated Yokohama B-Corsairs 2-0 in semifinals; defeated Chiba Jets 2-0 in B.LEAGUE Finals

- EASL 2023-24 Season record: 2-1

  • October 18, 2023: 80-79 win over Seoul SK Knights (KBL)
  • November 1, 2023: 82-69 loss against Seoul SK Knights (KBL)
  • November 15, 2023: 89-61 win over Meralco Bolts (PBA)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Keita Imamura – 17.3 ppg
  • Rebounds: Vic Law – 13.0 rpg
  • Assists: Allen Durham – 6.5 apg
  • Steals: Jack Cooley – 2.0 spg
  • Blocks: Allen Durham & Jack Cooley – 1.0 bpg

- EASL 2023-24 Season upcoming games:

  • Away vs. Meralco Bolts (PBA) – December 13, 2023
  • Away vs. New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+) – January 10, 2024
  • Home vs. New Taipei Kings (P. LEAGUE+) – January 24, 2024

- EASL History:

  • 2023 EASL Champions Week: Ryukyu Golden Kings went 2-1, defeating PBA side San Miguel Beermen 96-68 and P. LEAGUE+ side Taipei Fubon Braves 83-78 in the Group Stage. They lost to Bay Area Dragons 90-70 in the Third Place Game.
  • 2019 Terrific 12 (an EASL competition): Ryukyu Golden Kings went 0-2, falling to CBA side Shenzhen Aviators and PBA side San Miguel Beermen.
  • 2018 Terrific 12 (EASL competition): Ryukyu Golden Kings went 4-0, defeating the PBA D League All Stars and CBA side Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Group Stage. They defeated B.LEAGUE side Nagoya Diamond Dolphins in the semifinals before defeating CBA side Guangzhou Loong Lions in the Finals to win the tournament.
  • 2017 Super 8 (EASL competition): Ryukyu Golden Kings went 3-2, defeating KBL side Goyang Orions, SBL (Super Basketball League – Chinese Taipei) side Taoyuan Pauian Archiland and CBA side Shenzhen Leopards in the Group Stage. They lost to CBA side Zhejiang Lions in the semifinals before losing to Goyang Orions in the Third Place Game.

- B.LEAGUE 2023-24 Season record: 15-4

  • October 5, 2023: 80-63 win over Saga Ballooners
  • October 7, 2023: 80-79 win over Saga Ballooners
  • October 14, 2023: 93-86 win over Sun Rockers Shibuya
  • October 15, 2023: 84-82 win over Sun Rockers Shibuya
  • October 21, 2023: 89-66 loss against Yokohama B-Corsairs
  • October 22, 2023: 88-70 win over Yokohama B-Corsairs
  • October 25, 2023: 87-66 loss against Kawasaki Brave Thunders
  • October 28, 2023: 84-65 win over Toyama Grouses
  • October 29, 2023: 85-59 win over Toyama Grouses
  • November 4, 2023: 81-76 loss against Osaka Evessa
  • November 5, 2023: 94-76 win over Osaka Evessa
  • November 8, 2023: 87-71 win over Kyoto Hannaryz
  • November 11, 2023: 80-77 win over Shimane Susanoo Magic
  • November 12, 2023: 91-84 win over Shimane Susanoo Magic
  • December 2, 2023: 93-73 loss against SeaHorses Mikawa
  • December 3, 2023: 84-82 win over SeaHorses Mikawa
  • December 6, 2023: 76-73 win over Osaka Evessa
  • December 9, 2023: 83-81 win over Shinshu Brave Warriors
  • December 10, 2023: 83-79 win over Shinshu Brave Warriors

- B.LEAGUE 2023-24 Season stat leaders:

  • Points: Jack Cooley – 15.1 ppg
  • Rebounds: Jack Cooley – 12.6 rpg
  • Assists: Allen Durham – 4.2 apg
  • Steals: Keita Imamura – 1.1 spg
  • Blocks: Allen Durham & Jack Cooley – 0.8 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:

  • 13.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.5 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season:

  • 14.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.2 apg

#3 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)
  • 2018 First-team All-WAC (New Mexico State)

- Former NBA player (Detroit Pistons)

- Former NBA G League player (Grand Rapids Drive)

- 2017 AP Honorable Mention All-American

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 35.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.0 apg

- 2023-24 PBA Commissioners’ Cup season:

  • 54.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.0 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:

  • 14.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 0.5 apg

Ryukyu Golden Kings:

#30 Keita Imamura – SG

- Japanese National Basketball Team (2018 Asian Games)

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 17.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.7 apg

- 2023-24 B.LEAGUE season:

  • 13.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.5 apg

#45 Jack Cooley – C

- USA NCAA Division I: Notre Dame (2009-2013)

  • First-team All-Big East (2013)
  • Second-team All-Big East (2012)
  • Big East Most Improved Player (2012)

- Former NBA player (Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings)

- Former NBA G League player (Idaho Stampede, Reno Bighorns)

- Italy: Dinamo Sassari

  • 2019 FIBA Europe Cup champion

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 12.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 apg

- 2023-24 B.LEAGUE season:

  • 15.1 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 1.0 apg

#7 Allen Durham – PF

- USA NCAA Division II: Grace Bible College (2006-2011)

  • 3x NCCAA Champion (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • 3x NCCAA DII National Tournament MVP (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Pete Maravich Memorial Award Recipient (2011)
  • 3x NCCAA DII 1st-Team All-American (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Grace Bible's College All-Time Scoring Leader
  • Grace Bible's College All-Time Rebounding Leader
  • Grace Bible's College All-Time Blocks Leader
  • Grace Bible's College Hall of Famer (2018)

- Former NBA G League Player (Texas Legends)

- Philippines: PBA – Meralco Bolts

  • 3× PBA Best Import of the Conference (2016 Governors', 2017 Governors', 2019 Governors')

- France: Nantes

  • 2014 LNB Pro B Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2x LNB Pro B All-First Team (2014, 2015)
  • 2x LNB Pro B All-Imports Team (2014, 2015)

- Israel: Hapoel Afula

  • 2014 Israeli National League All-Star

- EASL 2023-24 Season stats:

  • 15.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 6.5 apg

- 2023-24 B.LEAGUE season:

  • 13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.2 apg

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