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Ryukyu braces for full-charged Bolts

The Ryukyu Golden Kings expect a different Meralco when they clash anew in the East Asia Super League Home and Away next week at the Studio City in Macau.

Golden Kings wingman Keita Imamura said the reigning B. League champion will have its hands full against a Bolts side that parades a complete roster in their 13 December game at the Melco Resorts and Entertainment dubbed as “Melco Style Presents: Clash of the Champions.”

The 27-year-old Japanese has taken notice how the Bolts gave former National Basketball Association standout Jeremy Lin and the New Taipei Kings a run for their money, 97-92, in a game that wasn’t decided until the final two minutes last week.

Meralco paraded a new import in Zach Lofton, who erupted for 35 big points and teamed-up with big man Prince Ibeh to form a deadly inside-outside combo for the Philippine Basketball Association ballclub.

The Kings whipped the Bolts in their first meeting, 89-61, but the team only had Ibeh for its import back then.

This time, Meralco has another reinforcement in Lofton as well as gunners Chris Banchero and Allein Maliksi back in its lineup.

“I want to go into the tournament thinking that we will have a game against a different team,” said Imamura during a conference call to hype up the first EASL game to be staged in Macau since 2019.

“They (Bolts) are a team with high individual abilities, so we will have to adjust ourselves to the game. I think the last game was not a perfect one as several Meralco players were unable to compete due to injuries and other reasons.”

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