Chris Newsome (No. 11) is surrounded by teammates following his heroics in Meralco's victory over Ryukyu in Macau. —EASL PHOTO

The impressive victory over Japanese B.League champion Ryukyu Golden Kings gave the Meralco Bolts a significant confidence boost heading into their busy December schedule in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and East Asian Super League (EASL).

Meralco's 97-88 overtime win in Macau on Wednesday not only put the PBA in the win column for its first home and away season in the regional league, but also solidified the team's status as one of the contenders for the Commissioner's Cup title.

“We will have to double our efforts and focus on December,” said coach Luigi Trillo, whose Bolts are still in contention for a place in the EASL Final Four despite a 1-2 record in Group B, while they maintain third place. place in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at 5-1.

The Bolts have two home games before Christmas at Converge on Sunday and Barangay Ginebra on December 22 before skipping the PBA holiday to focus on the EASL.

Meralco hosts South Korea's Seoul SK Knights on December 27 and the Jeremy Lin-led New Taipei City Kings on January 3.

Four-point game

A four-point play by Chris Newsome in the final seconds of regulation allowed Meralco to force overtime in Studio City, which further established the different level at which Bolt has performed since winning the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games with Gilas Pilipinas. .

“He did all the hard ones,” Trillo said. “(Meralco consultant Nenad Vucinic) came up with a good play at the end that gave Chris the opportunity to score.”

Import Zach Lofton scored 35 points, just days after dropping 54 at NorthPort in his PBA debut. He will still be the Bolts' import on Sunday against the FiberXers at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“(The win against Ryukyu was) crucial because we kept our winning streak alive and it gave us another game against Zach,” Trillo said, highlighting Meralco’s three consecutive wins and four of five in all competitions.

“We now focus our attention on our PBA schedule against Converge and then Ginebra.”

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