MERALCO added former Detroit guard Zach Lofton to its pool of imports, seeking to be at fuller power for the East Asia Super League (EASL).
The Bolts decided to bring in the 6-foot-4 Mr. Lofton with current PBA reinforcement Su Braimoh still unable to join the Bolts in their away assignments due to visa issues.
Mr. Braimoh, a Nigerian passport holder, was left behind when the team lost its Group B opening game to host Ryukyu Golden Kings in Okinawa, 61-89, last Nov. 15. Only Prince Ibeh served import duties that time against the Kings’ Allen Durham and Jack Cooley.
“He’s a dynamic guard who I think will help us,” said coach Luigi Trillo of Mr. Lofton.
“You know, you like to bring two big imports but at this time that might be good for us ’cause we’re lacking guards,” he added, referring to backcourt player Aaron Black (knee) and shooting-guard/small forward Allein Maliksi (nose).
He added that the team is trying to work on Mr. Braimoh’s travel papers so he could play in the EASL on the road. “Su, there’s a little bit of a problem with that. We have tried everything. He has a Nigerian passport, so iyung ano roon, they don’t allow multiple-entry anywhere around the world,” he said.
“We tried to talk to our Immigration and it’s still on hold. But we have three imports practicing with us — Zach Lofton is here, Prince Ibeh is here.”
Mr. Lofton will likely make his Meralco debut on Wednesday when the Bolts battle the Jeremy Lin-led New Taipei Kings in New Taipei and again on Nov. 27 when they face the Kings again in Macau.
Mr. Braimoh, meanwhile, will likely see action in the Meralco Bolts’ EASL home games in Manila on Dec. 27 against Seoul SK Knights and Jan. 3 in the return match with Taipei.
“I know for sure that Su will play here on the 27th and 3rd. But the next two, we’re still waiting on the Bureau of Immigrations on that,” said Mr. Trillo. “Ready lang kami.” — Olmin Leyba