The Macau Black Bears take on Mono Vampire with the two teams needing the win for very different reasons. Macau is out to strengthen their hold of the top-four spot to head into the ABL playoffs holding home-court advantage in the first round.
Mono Vampire, on the other end, are still a few steps away from locking up a playoff spot. Holding an 8-14 win-loss tally, the Thai squad is only a full game ahead of the Westports Malaysia Dragons who are at 7-15.
In the first meeting, Macau escaped with a close win on Mono Vampire’s home-court and ABL fans should expect another hotly contested match between the two teams.
Even if they were undermanned in their last couple of games after the injury suffered by Anthony Tucker, Macau still fought hard as they defeated the Dragons in their first game and then lost gallantly to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas on the road.
Macau put of a great fight but in the end, the prowess of Alab in the shaded area was just too much for the Black Bears. In the end, the lack of another option on offense outside of Mikh McKinney, Ryan Watkins, and Jenning Leung made it difficult for them to stay in pace with the defending champions
McKinney was unbelievable in their last game as he almost single-handedly carried them to a win. It was an astounding show of offensive prowess as he attacked inside and shot well outside while still making sure his teammates get their looks as well. It was a career performance for McKinney but it fell just a little short.
Mono Vampire was at the brink of defeat against the Saigon Heat but they were able to make big defensive plays at the end of regulation to force an overtime period. It was a huge win for the Thai squad because Macau also won on that same day against the Dragons, which gave Mono Vampire an edge in the race for the final playoff spot.
They were led by their two prolific imports who were simply outstanding in all aspects of the game. Mike Singletary and Romeo Travis combined for 38 points, 20 rebounds, 20 assists, and 10 steals,
A key matchup in this game will be between their bigs in Ryan Watkins and Malcolm White. The former has had to carry a heavier load after Tucker’s injury but he was taken the challenge bravely. White, on the other end, is great for Mono Vampire as long as he can stay on the floor. There were games when he got into foul trouble early and they paid for it dearly. Luckily for them, they were able to overcome his absence in their last game against the Heat.
Another matchup features the two teams’ other scorers in Leung and Moses Morgan. Leung has been a threat for Macau from the outside in their past two games while Morgan lifted Mono Vampire in the overtime period versus Saigon.
The biggest storyline for this contest is the addition of a talented import for Macau. Even though the time to alter lineups has already passed, there is a clause in the ABL rules that allows teams to replace imports in case of injuries.
Because of this, the Black Bears were able to sign up Dewarick Spencer, a talented scorer who has already proven himself in international competitions, especially in the region. He’s a Jones Cup and FIBA Asia Champions Cup winner and MVP but he’ll have to quickly learn the system of Macau and the tendencies of his new teammates.