It’s a crucial battle between two teams locked in a battle near the bottom of the standings in an attempt to qualify for the upcoming playoffs of the ASEAN Basketball League.
The Westports Malaysia Dragons, currently holding the eighth spot with their 6-12 record, will try to defend their home court against Mono Vampire, who had a 5-14 win-loss tally. A win for the lower-ranked Mono Vampire would mean they’d move half a game behind the Dragons. A win for Westports Malaysia, on the other end, would establish a more comfortable distance against the Thai squad.
Both teams are coming off tough losses so they’re out to shake off whatever ailed them in the last games and start a rally heading into the playoffs.
The Dragons lost this season’s edition of the Straits Cup via sweep against Singapore. They lost 87-76 at home and then they were blown out 81-44 at the OCBC Arena. Westports Malaysia found it hard to control the output from the three Slinger imports. On the other side of the court, they could not break free from the lockdown defense of Singapore as they were limited to only 22% shooting from the field.
Nnanna Egwu must find a way to stay effective even if the defense starts focusing on him. He was outstanding in the first game of the Straits Cup but when Singapore’s defense adjusted, he failed to provide the much-needed points for the Dragons.
Winston Shepard, on the other end, has been scoring well for Westports Malaysia although he has not been very efficient. The Slingers dared him to shoot as much as he wants from the outside in their second game and although he scored 25 points, it took him 28 shot attempts to get there.
Mono Vampire also lost their last game against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas at home as they were playing without Romeo Travis. In a rematch of last year’s ABL Finals, the Philippine team limited Mono Vampire to less than 20 points in all quarters and virtually shut down every Thai local outside of Tyler Lamb who scored 13 points. The other eight locals who played more than 10 minutes each in the game only combined for 11 points.
They’ll still rely on Michael Singletary to power their squad on both ends of the floor as he has been the one constant for Mono Vampire this season. He’ll have to elevate his game even more with the games being more valuable late in the elimination round.
It’s still a question for Mono Vampire though if Travis will be available for the game against the Dragons. His arrival added another weapon for Mono Vampire not just in scoring in rebounding but more importantly in leadership. They will need his presence in this crucial game.