Even though Mono Vampire was the lowest-ranked team heading into the playoffs, no one counted them as the entire league knew they would be a dangerous team to contend with in the quarterfinals.
The finalist of last year’s ABL season showed grit and determination by scoring a huge upset against the top-seeded Formosa Dreamers in Game 1 and now they can advance to the semifinals with a victory at home so they could forget all about their tough start to open the elimination round.
This series features two teams that took on very different paths after the rule changes employed by the league. Formosa took complete advantage by getting three really good ones who were able to invest in their chemistry with each other. It was not a coincidence that Formosa, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, and the Singapore Slingers were the top three teams in the league as all of them did not have to replace any of their imports.
Mono Vampire, on the other end, tried a very different approach as they opened the season with two guard imports alongside Michael Singletary, which made it tough for them to win their early games. Luckily for them, they were able to recover just in time to sneak into the playoffs.
In Game 1, Mono Vampire used their superior speed to score on fast break points against the Dreamers. They were also the more aggressive team as they were awarded with more free throws. Defense will have to be a priority for the Dreamers as they’ll need to make sure Mono Vampire doesn’t get into an offensive flow at home.
In the series opener, both teams missed the services of one of their imports as they got tagged with one-game suspensions due after reaching the technical foul limit in the elimination round. It appeared like Formosa missed Malcolm Miller more than Mono Vampire missed Malcolm White. It’ll be interesting to see which import gets to make up for lost time in Game 2.
It was a battle between Singletary and Will Artino as both imports did their best to lead their team. Singletary might have been quiet in the end game for Mono Vampire but it was a turnover from Artino in the closing seconds that robbed them of an opportunity to send the game into overtime.
Tevin Glass did his best to make up for the absence of Miller but he was outperformed by Romeo Travis in the end game. The late addition to Mono Vampire used his strength to score inside during the most crucial stretches of the match and he was also the one who got his hand on the ball to force Artino’s late turnover.
The local leaders of this matchup are Kenny Chien for Formosa and Tyler Lamb for Mono Vampire and they matched up pretty well with their numbers in Game 1. Although Lamb is the more fiery scorer, Chien did his best to stay in pace the the Dreamers will need a bigger performance from him to stay alive.
The X-factors of the matchup were guard Freddie Lish and Wu Yung Cheng provided steady numbers for their respective squads. The only question for them now is if they can stay involved on offense with the return of White and Miler.