BASKETBALL/Jeremy Lin shares connection with Philippines following EASL win
Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) The New Taipei Kings fended off the Philippine Meralco Bolts 97-92 at home Wednesday for a 2-0 start in the East Asia Super League (EASL) led by Jeremy Lin (林書豪), who discussed his bond with the Philippines after the game.
The former NBA combo guard arrived at Xinzhuang Gymnasium with the word "Manila" emblazoned across his chest, but he showed no mercy to the Manila-based ball club by putting up 25 points and seven assists in the P.LEAGUE+ (PLG) 2022-23 season runners-up's victory, missing only one of 12 shots from the free throw line.
Asked about his shirt, Lin said it was a product of a brand founded by his good friend AJ Rafael, a Filipino-American singer-songwriter.
"Also, I think I can share this with you today, my wife is a Filipino, so for me this is very meaningful."
Touting Lin as a player who "has meant a lot to Asian basketball, Bolts head coach Luigi Trillo said he is a big fan of the 35-year-old veteran, adding "it was nice to watch him and Zach [Lofton] go at it."
Lofton, one of the four Bolts players with double-figure scoring, nailed six treys for a game-high 35 points, including many tough shots that temporarily silenced the raucous Xinzhuang crowd.
"It's ok, you know, it's my first game with the team, been here about two weeks. These guys they took me in, instill great confidence in me, let me play my game. I think I can do better prepare for them but overall I think we played ok," said the American shooting guard.
The two teams took turns to take the lead with the margin mostly within 10 points, but the Kings extended their lead to 94-84 with about 90 seconds left in the game. The Bolts managed to trim the gap with a pair of threes but fell short as time ran out.
Meanwhile, two-time PLG regular season MVP Yang Chin-min (楊敬敏) made his EASL debut Wednesday and first formal game since an affair he had with a fan was made public during the offseason.
Starting from the bench, Yang, also known as Amigo, stepped onto the court in the first quarter with about two minutes to go, and the crowd came to life keeping up chants that lifted the roof.
Yang missed his first five field goal attempts until drenching back-to-back three-pointers to bring fans to their feet, leaving with seven points and two rebounds on the board after playing 15 minutes and 16 seconds.
After the game, Yang said he is still getting used to the game and was mentally prepared for potential criticism of his return.
"I have been caring little about the public comments, be it good or bad. I realize that I'm a player and I have something more important to do."
Yang was suspended for 15 PLG games by the league's disciplinary committee on Nov. 9 for tarnishing its image, and the Kings general manager James Mao (毛加恩) said prior to the game that the franchise decided to fine the 39-year-old small forward two months' salary.
However, that suspension does not apply to EASL games.
New Taipei Kings CEO Phil Chen (陳信生) admitted that the franchise might not have dealt with the issue perfectly, but they believe the best way to support Yang and his family is to support his return to the court.
As a new teammate, Lin said he only met Yang recently but has respected him a lot since last season when he played for the Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers, believing everyone deserves a second chance.
"It's not my job to judge what others did. I'm gonna just take good care of my own business and support people around me. Amigo is my teammate...He's such a good player, so I think we don't need to think too much about this and just keep going," Lin said.
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