The semifinals between the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia and Mono Vampire Basketball Club kicks off on Sunday at GOR Kertajaya in Surabaya.
Both teams made significant win streaks midseason that catapulted themselves into the postseason. The Knights entered as the fourth-seed while last year’s runners-up Mono Vampire ended up as the eighth and final entry.
In the quarterfinals, the Knights edged fifth-seed Saigon Heat in three games. Mono meanwhile, scored a huge upset by sweeping first-seed Formosa Dreamers.
The Knights’ top gun has been none other than Maxie Esho. The 6-foot-9 forward has been the constant source of offense for his squad. He hits opponents with an array of shots either from the paint or perimeter. He’s currently averaging 23.3 points on an amazing 48 percent shooting clip, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals. This season, he amped up his 3-point shooting. From shooting 36 percent and knocking down just 1.6 triples per game last year, he’s up to 2.6 makes and 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Countering the production of Esho will be Mono’s Michael Singletary. As much as the Thailand squad is loaded with talent, Singletary has been the fire that fuels the Thailand offense. Aside from his 25 points per outing, it’s his ball handling and playmaking ability that makes him a catalyst on the offensive end. Mono usually shares point guard duties with Freddie Lish, Tyler Lamb, and Singletary. The 6-foot-5 forward has shown his versatility this season by pushing the pace and setting up his teammates.
The Singapore Slingers are already waiting in the ABL Finals. Will Mono Vampire continue their Cinderella run and earn a ticket to the big dance or can the Knights topple last year’s finalists?