Ryukyu tears Meralco apart; TNT remains winless

Meralco’s Cliff Hodge and Ryukyu’s Allen Durham are catching up in the East Asia Super League in Japan. – EASL PHOTO

PBA sister teams Meralco and TNT suffered various setbacks late Wednesday night on the East Asia Super League (EASL) tour and remained winless, with the Bolts taking a hard beating against Japanese B.League powerhouse Ryukyu Golden Kings and former import Allen Durham.

The Golden Kings routed the Bolts in the second half en route to an 89-61 victory in Okinawa, Japan, while the Tropang Giga dropped to an 0-3 record despite strong performances by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Quincy Miller after a 106-97 loss to the Taipei Fubon Braves in Chinese Taipei.

Meralco played only once in Prince Ibeh’s match against the Ryukyu team, which paraded Jack Cooley and Durham at the Okinawa Arena.

The Bolts were in the game until midway through the second quarter, when the reigning B.League champions broke a 20-6 run to break a 28-28 deadlock and take a 48-34 lead into the break.

Leading scorer Keita Imamura led Ryukyu with 19 points, Cooley added 12 and eight rebounds, while Durham had another great all-around game where he recorded 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists, stats he provided to Meralco during his four seasons in the PBA .

Next stop in Macau

Former Gilas Pilipinas member Carl Tamayo finished with seven points for Ryukyu, raising its record in Group B to 2-1.

Chris Newsome scored 11 points and Ibeh had 10 and nine rebounds for Meralco, which even led 24-17 at the beginning of the second period.

The two sides meet again on December 13 at the integrated Studio City resort in Macau for a special road game sponsored by Melco Resorts and Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Hollis-Jefferson and Miller combined for 67 points, but the shorthanded Tropang Giga lost at the last minute.

Returning from a battle with gastroenteritis that caused him to miss a game against the Chiba Jets on Nov. 1, Hollis-Jefferson scored 33 points, including a jumper that made it 91-88 with 5:46 left in the game.

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But the Braves, the reigning P.League+ champions, responded with a 9-0 surge behind Chris Anthony Johnson and former PBA import Mike Singletary, extending the lead to 12 in the final two minutes.


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