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Chris Newsome shines as Meralco stuns Ryukyu for 1st EASL win

MANILA, Philippines, December 14 ------ Chris Newsome was a man on a mission for the Meralco Bolts as they gutted out a 97-88 overtime win over the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the East Asia Super League (EASL) at the Studio City Event Center in Macau. With Meralco trailing by two possessions, 76-80, with only 10 seconds remaining in regulation, Newsome completed a tough four-point play to tie the game and eventually send it to overtime after Ryukyu import Vic Law missed his potential game-winner at the buzzer.  


Newsome then put the Golden Kings away for good in the extra period with cold-blooded back-to-back jumpers to extend the Bolts’ lead to its largest at 9 points, 92-83, with just 1:24 to play. The Gilas Pilipinas forward Newsome put on a shooting clinic for the Bolts, knocking down 8 of his 9 attempts from the field to finish with 27 points, to go with 8 rebounds. Thanks to his heroics, the Bolts became the first Philippine team to secure a win in the tournament as the TNT Tropang Giga remain winless in four matches.  


Meralco’s high-scoring import Zach Lofton, who recently went off for 54 points in his PBA Commissioner’s Cup debut last Sunday, December 10, led the Bolts with a game-high 35 points on 13-of-35 shooting. Prince Ibeh, Meralco’s second EASL import, also breached double-digit scoring in the hard-earned win with 15 points, along with a team-high 12 rebounds. Playing minus their other reinforcements Allen Durham and Carl Tamayo, Law paced the Golden Kings with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.  


It was the three-time PBA Best Import Durham who showed the way for the defending Japan B. League champions in their 28-point demolition of the Bolts in their first EASL encounter last November 15. Keita Imamura helped Law carry Ryukyu’s scoring cudgels with 19 points, while Ryuichi Kishimoto and Jack Cooley added 15 and 10, respectively.  


With its first win, Meralco improved its record to 1-2, while Ryukyu fell to an even 2-2 slate in Group B. Over at the Anyang Gymnasium in South Korea, Rhenz Abando saw his efficient performance go down the drain as the Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters absorbed a 102-69 beating at the hands of the Chiba Jets. Abando topscored for Anyang with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting, on top of 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in close to 28 minutes of action as a starter. Darryl Monroe backstopped Abando with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyungwon Kim chipped in 11 markers. 


The Red Boosters had no answers for Jets import John Mooney, who posted a monster double-double of 22 points and 22 rebounds. Yuki Togashi also torched Anyang with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc. Chiba extended its unbeaten run in Group A to four games and handed Anyang its first loss in three outings.   




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