Seoul SK survives late Meralco Bolts rally, 81-80, in EASL

Seoul SK survives late Meralco Bolts rally, 81-80, in EASL

THIS TIME, Meralco ran out of power to complete an epic comeback victory in the East Asia Super League (EASL).

The Bolts fought back from 12 points down but botched the potential last-gasp go-ahead to allow Seoul SK to escape, 81-80, in their first home game at the PhilSports Arena Wednesday night.

The charges of Luigi Trillo fell to 1-3 in Group B after falling short of their bid to duplicate their breakthrough 97-88 overtime come-from-behind win over Ryukyu Golden Kings in Macau two weeks ago.

The result put Meralco Bolts’ Final Four bid in jeopardy with two games left in group play.

Zach Lofton fired 11 of his 32 points in the payoff period as Meralco threatened to steal it from the Korean club after trailing most of the way.

But unlike in the previous duel with Ryukyu, the Bolts didn’t execute their final offensive perfectly in the dying seconds. Down by one with six ticks left, Chris Banchero drove to the baseline and dished it out to Prince Ibeh inside but it was broken up by KBL Most Valuable Player Kim Sun Hyung, who dribbled the other way en route to the Knights’ second W in four starts.

Mr. Ibeh shot 13 with 11 rebounds while Chris Newsome, hero of their breakthrough in Macau, also had 13 in backing up Mr. Lofton.

Knights import Jameel Warney banged in 31 as Young Jun An fired 19 spiked by five triples for the victorious visitors.

“It’s crazy man. You saw that last five minutes, it was really exciting, really crazy. We’re glad we’re out with a win because it really got a little hectic,” said Mr. Warney.

“A win is a win. We just got here yesterday (Tuesday) after playing on Christmas. So we’re tired. Our legs are tired. We have a flight tonight. We have another game on December 30th. We have a lot of games right now so we’re just happy to get a win no matter if it’s an ugly win or a beautiful win. We just want to win games.” — Olmin Leyba

The Scores:

Seoul SK 81 — Warney 31, Young Jun 19, Williams 7, Sun Hyung 7, Jae Hyun 6, Gomez de Liaño 4, Won Hyuk 3, Chang Yong 2, Buk Yong 2, Woo Sub 0, Geonu 0, Sekeun 0.

Meralco 80 — Lofton 32, Ibeh 13, Newsome 13, Hodge 8, Black 6, Banchero 5, Bates 2, Quinto 1, Mendoza 0, Almazan 0, Rio 0, Torres 0.

Quarterscores: 20-20, 45-33, 64-56, 81-80.