Gameday 7: Group B – New Taipei Kings 97 (2-0) vs. Meralco Bolts 92 (0-2)
November 29, 2023 – Xinzhuang Gymnasium, New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei
New Taipei Kings remain undefeated this season after beating a gutsy Meralco Bolts 97-92 this evening. The Kings extended their win streak across P. LEAGUE+ and EASL to seven games. Former NBA star Jeremy Lin led the way with a team-high 25 points and seven assists.
Bolts' early surge
The Meralco Bolts will have surprised many observers with a powerful effort in the first three quarters, holding the lead for more than 17 of the 30 minutes.
New import Zach Lofton, recently signed as a replacement for missing star import Suleiman Braimoh, was lethal on the floor, scoring 19 points at the half. Lofton finished with a game-high 35 points.
The rest of his team, however, struggled on the floor, shooting just 39 percent.
Despite the Kings’ poor shooting numbers, they got hot at the right time, going nine for 19 for 47 percent in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bolts 32-26 to come back and win their second EASL game.
EASL Player of the Game: Jeremy Lin, New Taipei Kings
Former NBA sensation Jeremy Lin was fired up on Wednesday, delivering a solid performance to lead the Kings to a hard-fought victory.
Lin recorded a team-high 25 points and seven assists on the night, going 11 of 12 from the charity stripe.
Stat of the day
New Taipei showed strong teamwork this evening. They combined for 21 assists in the game, compared to just 12 assists from Meralco.
Jeremy Lin led his team with seven assists, and now is averaging eight assists per game in the EASL season.
Quotes of the day
New Taipei Kings head coach Ryan Marchand
On Meralco Bolts' first half performance:
“I think they came out really hot, came out with a lot of energy. We didn't do a really good job on the glass and we didn’t take their space away ... Giving up 48 points in the first half isn’t good enough for us on the defensive end.”
New Taipei Kings guard Jeremy Lin
On New Taipei Kings’ performance against the Meralco Bolts:
“Man, I’m proud of my team. Honestly, we have a lot of guys who can score the ball and who are extremely great players. But what I really liked was in the second half we were really locked in defensively. We got a lot of great defenders as well. This was a full team effort. Fun game.”
On the tightness of this New Taipei Kings team:
“We care about each other, we like each other, and we want to see each other succeed. I think that’s culture. I think that’s character. We’ve got to keep doing that and we’ll see how far it takes us.”
Post-game press conference
New Taipei Kings: away vs. Meralco Bolts (January 3, 2024)
Meralco Bolts: home vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (December 13, 2023, in Macau)