Meralco has brought in Zach Lofton as the team tries to circumnavigate its import situation in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Season 2.
The Bolts are still facing issues regarding Suleiman Braimoh’s travel documents and the former NBA player is being looked at to address the concern, especially as they go overseas to compete in the pan-regional tournament.
“Su, there’s a little bit of a problem with that,” disclosed head coach Luigi Trillo. “We have tried everything. He has a Nigerian passport, so ‘yung ano roon, they don’t allow multiple-entry anywhere around the world.’
“We tried to talk to our Immigrations already and it’s still on hold. But, we have three imports practicing with us — Zach Lofton is here, Prince Ibeh is here.”
Lofton is already in Manila and was on the sidelines when Meralco beat TNT, 109-95, in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup at the Philsports Arena.
The partnership was already announced by sports agency PSB Sports last November 8 although the Bolts management refuted such.
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But now, that initial denial has been negated as the former Detroit Piston has arrived, and he’s expected to serve as a weapon for a side that’s missing the services of injured guards like Aaron Black, Bong Quinto, and Allein Maliksi.
He’ll be bringing with him vast experience of international ball as well. Lofton most recently played in China, a few months after helping Dynamo Club to a runner-up finish in the 2022-23 Lebanese Basketball Championship.
“It’s also nice to have a weapon also,” Trillo said. “He’s a dynamic guard who I think will help us … You know, you like to bring two big imports but at this time that might be good for us ’cause we’re lacking guards.”
Still, Meralco hasn’t totally forgotten about Braimoh, the team’s current reinforcement in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup. According to Trillo, the 34-year-old big man will be utilized when they play at home for the EASL.
The Bolts will be hosting the Seoul SK Knights on December 27, and then Jeremy Lin and the New Taipei Kings on January 3 next year. Both matches will be played at the Philsports Arena.
“I know for sure that Su will play here when the games are on the 27th and 3rd. But the next two, we’re still waiting on the Bureau of Immigrations on that. Ready lang kami,” the veteran bench tactician said.