Meralco failed to sustain an early surge to suffer a 92-97 loss to home team New Taipei Kings on Wednesday night in the East Asia Super League at the Xinzhuang gymnasium in Taipei City.
Former National Basketball Association Jeremy Lin spoiled new Bolts import Zach Lofton’s impressive debut after hitting 5-of-7 threes in the final quarter to complete the Kings’ comeback victory for a 2-0 win-loss record on top of Group B.
Meralco behind Lofton, who poured 19 of his game-high 35 points in the first half, dominated the first three quarters only to fizzle out in the end.
The 35-year-old Lin spearheaded a late run by New Taipei to take a 94-85 lead in the final 1:24 of the tightly-fought game.
“Man, I’m proud of my team,” said Lin, who won an NBA title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
“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.”
Lofton was 3-of-6 from the three-point arc, while import partner Prince Ibeh added 18 points and six rebounds for Meralco, which suffered a second straight loss to stay at the bottom of its group.
The Bolts, who held a three-point lead at the half and a slim 66-65 edge entering the fourth quarter, also got double figures from Chris Newsome with 16 and guard Anjo Caram with 10.