With Meralco, Ryukyu is expected to face competition

Dec 14, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – Encouraged by a prolific import and a fully loaded roster, Meralco is brimming with confidence ahead of its Wednesday night rematch in Macau against Ryukyu Golden Kings as they begin the EASL both at home and abroad.

The Bolts are eager to challenge the opposing B team now that Allein Maliksi as well as Chris Banchero are back in the lineup and Zach Lofton is settling into coach Luigi Trillo’s system. Giving the league champions a serious competition in the 7 p.m. meeting in Studio City.

With Prince Ibeh as the only import, Meralco took against Ryukyu for the first time in Okinawa, Japan, three weeks ago. But the team lost 89 to 61 because they were unable to hold onto their big lead. In present, Meralco is winning the PBA Commissioner’s Cup three times in a row, indicating a turnaround in their performance. Allen Lofton’s incredible play, which included an explosive 54 points to help Meralco defeat Northport 125 to 99, was the high point of this winning run.

Meralco is now in a more positive position in the league rankings thanks to its recent triumph. With a 2–1 record, they are now ranked second in Group B, behind only the undefeated New Taipei Kings. With a record of 1 to 2, Seoul SK Knights are just behind in third place, and Meralco is in the bottom half with a record of 0 to 2.

Meralco is confident going into the next game against Ryukyu, despite the difficulties they encountered in their previous meeting. The team performs better as a whole when important players like Chris Banchero and Allen Lofton return. Lofton’s importance was highlighted by Maliksi Trillo, who said, “We need him; he’s one of our go-to guys.” Meralco feels they have a more unified team that can compete well now that they have a full roster.

Despite pointing out areas for development, Trillo was upbeat about Meralco’s position in the league. The team is motivated to capitalize on their recent triumphs and keep moving up the rankings. “Ultimately, we still have much that we can enhance, but overall we’re within a reasonable distance from being in the Top 2.”

Even though Meralco lost their most recent game, 97 to 92, to Jeremy Lin and the New Taipei Kings, they played with a competitive attitude, with Lofton and Banchero making big contributions. Meralco is ready to build on their previous successes and deliver a good showing to obtain a favorable standing in the league as they get ready to take on Ryukyu once more.

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