Meralco falls to ex-import Allen Durham, Ryukyu in EASL
MANILA, Philippines–The shorthanded Meralco Bolts had no answer for former import Allen Durham, Carl Tamayo and the rest of the B.League champion Ryukyu Golden Kings and suffered an 89-61 loss to start off their East Asia Super League campaign Wednesday in Okinawa, Japan.
Playing with just one import in Prince Ibeh after Su Braimoh encountered visa issues, the Bolts eventually couldn’t keep pace with the Golden Kings and saw a tight first half turn into a blowout before the latter’s home fans at Okinawa Arena.
Durham, who won three Best Import honors and led the Bolts to three PBA Governors’ Cup Finals appearances, was among those who inflicted damage on his former team with 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Golden Kings.
Tamayo came off the bench to produce seven points and three rebounds while Keita Imamura topscored with 19 for Ryukyu.
Chris Newsome finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists for Meralco, which aside from Braimoh’s absence also played minus Allein Maliksi after fracturing his nose against Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup over the weekend.
Ibeh had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Bolts as their lone foreign player.
Meralco led 24-17 early in the second quarter on a three-pointer by Diego Dario, but Ryukyu slowly turned things around to go into the break up 48-34.
Things went further south for the Bolts in the second half, and the Golden Kings led by a high of 29.
The Bolts’ next EASL match is on Nov. 29 on the road against Taiwan’s P.League side New Taipei Kings, who are led by ex-NBA vet Jeremy Lin.