January 3, 2024 – PhilSports Arena, Manila, Philippines
A massive third quarter by the New Taipei Kings was enough to give them a 89-77 victory over PBA side Meralco Bolts in this evening's Group B clash in Manila.
Jeremy Lin led the way for the P. LEAGUE+ team with a game-high 23 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the EASL season.
- Bolts collapse in the third quarter
The Meralco Bolts had a great first half, hitting 47 percent from the field, and going into halftime with a five-point lead.
But the team came out of the break flat defensively. The New Taipei Kings went on a 12-0 run to begin the third, with Jeremy Lin hitting back-to-back triples.
The Bolts saw their lead extinguished in a matter of minutes in the second half and were playing catch-up for the rest of the game.
- Age is just a number
The Kings’ top three scorers were all well into their thirties.
Thirty-five-year-old Jeremy Lin had a game-high 23 points. Thirty-nine-year-old Yang Chin-Min hit three treys for 13 points. Thirty-two-year-old Kenny Manigault finished the game with 12 points.
Even 40-year-old Quincy Davis got in on the action with a huge dunk for two points and three rebounds in over 11 minutes of play.
- Bolts' stars lose voltage
Meralco Bolts head coach Luigi Trillo decided to sit his star Chris Newsome in this game. Offensively, the team relied heavily on their leading scorer Zach Lofton and their other import Prince Ibeh.
Unfortunately, the two imports came out cold, combining to shoot two for 12 to start the game.
Lofton, EASL’s second-top scorer this season, finished with a season-low 20 points on 37 percent shooting. Ibeh scored in single digits for the first time this EASL season, finishing with just seven points.
EASL Player of the Game: Jeremy Lin, New Taipei Kings
Jeremy Lin won his second EASL Player of the Game honors against the Meralco Bolts.
The 35-year-old veteran finished with a game-high 23 points, adding 10 rebounds and four assists, including back-to-back three-pointers to jump-start the Kings’ offense in the third quarter.
Lin is now averaging 20 points in three games this season and is an integral part of New Taipei Kings’ undefeated run in EASL.
Stat of the day
The Meralco Bolts' horrid second half was the story in this game. The team made 18 shots in the first half and just 10 in the second.
Meralco’s poor shooting efficiency cost them the game. The players combined to shoot 47 percent from the field in the first half, and a measly 33 percent after halftime.
Quotes of the Day
New Taipei Kings guard Jeremy Lin:
On his team's performance:
“My team did a great job. Kai-Yan, Kyle, #9, he did a great job defensively. Kenny Manigault was everywhere defensively as well. They did a great job on Lofton and just made him work hard on everything, grabbing rebounds as well. Joe, my little brother, he did a great job in being a floor general. He did a lot tonight. He did a lot to make it happen. He made a lot of plays on the weak side, and it was big to see him do that.”
On playing in the Philippines:
“I’m just thankful to the fans. It's different here. I came here and played in 2013, but now being here… my wife’s parents are from Cebu and Batangas [and] it's different coming back now and seeing her side of the family out here and they were able to come to the game tonight as well. I know we’re not too far from Batangas. It’s good to be out here and good to see the Filipino fans.”
TNT Tropang Giga forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson:
On watching Jeremy Lin play on the sidelines:
“It was amazing to see him. Every time I see him, I love him. He knows how I feel about him. To be able to watch him play and do what he do, it’s amazing to watch him play with his brother. I got to experience that for the first time and it was amazing. So, I’m just proud of him, happy for him. Words can’t describe it.”
Meralco Bolts: Away vs. Seoul SK Knights (KBL) – February 7, 2024
New Taipei Kings: Home vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (B.LEAGUE) – January 10, 2024