Meralco imports Zach Lofton.–PBA IMAGES

MACAU — Boosted by a high-scoring import and a well-rounded squad, Meralco is full of confidence heading into their rematch with the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the EASL (East Asia Super League) home-and-away season on Wednesday night.

With Allein Maliksi and Chris Banchero back and Zach Lofton now playing comfortably in coach Luigi Trillo's system, the Bolts are eager to give the defending B. League champions a good run for their money in the 7pm meeting at Studio City here.

Meralco failed to sustain a good start and lost 89-61 in its first meeting with Ryukyu in Okinawa, Japan three weeks ago, where the team fielded just one import in Prince Ibeh.

But the team is currently on a roll, as it is on a three-game winning streak in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, highlighted by a 125-99 rout of Northport on the eve of the team's departure to Macau, in which Lofton exploded for 54 points. .

“He scored 54 (tonight) and I think it’s good for him because we have a game on Wednesday. Then we will fly to Macau and face Ryukyu,” said Trillo. “First game with Prince (Ibeh), we played with an import. Now at least we have two. And we are happy about that.”

Ryukyu currently sits second in Group B with a 2-1 record behind the undefeated New Taipei Kings (2-0).

Meralco is in the basement with a 0-2 record, with Seoul SK Knights just ahead in third place at 1-2.

But the Bolts like their chances against the Kings this time, especially playing with the benefit of a full roster.

“We need him, he is one of our interlocutors,” said Trillo de Maliksi, who has just recovered from a three-week-old broken nose. “Having him, having CB (Chris Banchero) and having a more complete team is good for us.

“We still need something to improve, but overall we are very close to the Top 2.”

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Lofton and Banchero teamed up in Meralco's last game against Jeremy Lin and the New Taipei Kings, but lost narrowly, 97-92.



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