Meralco EASL hopes hanging in the balance
EASL HOOPS

Meralco EASL hopes hanging in the balance

/ 05:06 AM December 29, 2023

Meralco Bolts coach Luigi Trillo.

Meralco Bolts coach Luigi Trillo. –PBA IMAGES

Meralco is now in dire straits of having to win its remaining two matches for a chance of sneaking into the Final Four in the East Asia Super League (EASL).

Wednesday’s heartbreaking 81-80 loss to the Seoul SK Knights at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City sent the Bolts at the bottom of Group B with a 1-3 record going into their final two games.

But things seem to look complicated in the group with the New Taipei Kings on top at 2-0 while Seoul is tied with the Ryukyu Golden Kings with an even 2-2 slate.

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The Bolts host the Taiwanese side Kings, led by former New York Knick Jeremy Lin, on Jan. 3 at the same venue, a loss likely ending any hopes of making the semifinals.

A return match with SK is set in Seoul on Feb. 7.

“We still have an outside chance. We will give it our very best on [Jan. 3]. We can beat that team if we come to play,” said coach Luigi Trillo.

“We have to play at a higher level. Focus, adjust in game and react well in our next game. We will focus on this next one as [New] Taipei Kings are leading in our bracket at first,” he added.

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Despite being down by nine with less than three minutes left, Meralco was able to cut down the margin to a single point and had a chance to win it on the game’s final possession.

Meralco went to Chris Banchero to create for a potential winner and the heady guard drove to the baseline before dropping it off to Prince Ibeh down low.

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But Ibeh couldn’t get a grip on the pass, and the Knights were able to take the ball and escape with a win.

Zach Lofton had 32 points for Meralco, which was without Allein Maliksi. INQ

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TAGS: EASL, Meralco Bolts

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