It’s the rematch of the last ABL Finals inside the venue that saw the coronation of San Miguel Alab Pilipinas as the champion against Mono Vampire. Now, the two teams will meet for the first time since that fateful day with the circumstances being very different.
Although neither Alab nor Mono Vampire was consistently on top of the standings last season, they always had steady confidence in their squad and although they were the lower-ranked teams in their respective semifinals match-ups, they emerged victorious to set up their best-of-five series.
Things are very different now although a lot of old faces still remain.
Alab is on top of the rankings with seven wins against two defeats, both only by a single point. Mono Vampire, on the other end, has struggled to get things going as they’ve been looking for the right combination of imports to make things work. They hold a 2-9 win-loss tally as they are currently sitting at the ninth spot.
Alab rebounded with a win over the Macau Black Bears at in their last game as they remained undefeated at home. Led by the talented Renaldo Balkman and the hulking PJ Ramos, Alab proven to be the team-to-beat in their title-retention bid.
Balkman has been rock-solid for Alab with 25.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per contest. Ramos is not that far behind with 18.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. What makes these two imports so impressive is that they convert on more than half of their field goal attempts at 55% and 51%.
Mono Vampire, on the other end, has looked better since the arrival of Malcolm White. They had a bold move at the start of the season by having two guards as imports alongside Michael Singletary but they quickly realized they won’t be able to compete without a big man. They first tried out Chris Charles but the ABL veteran has been hampered with back issues.
White posted 24.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game which compliments Singletary’s production of 26.2 points and 11.3 rebounds.
What needs to change for Mono Vampire is the production of their locals. Spitfire guard Freddie Lish is capable of really helping out on offense but their coaches will have to find the right balance between playing him and their steady point guard Jason Brickman.
Things are not going to get easier for the Thai squad as they will try to score the first win against Alab in the Philippines but, one thins is for sure, they’ll need to start putting wins together or risk being eliminated before they can even get going.