The BTN CLS Knights Indonesia are moving on to the ASEAN Basketball League Finals.
The Knights rode to glory with a convincing 89-75 Game 3 victory over the Mono Vampire Basketball Club, Sunday night, in front of their home fans inside GOR Kertajaya in Surabaya.
In the midst of the intense playoff action, it was Douglas Herring who shone the brightest. Indonesian’s lead guard erupted for a game-high 30 points on an efficient 12-for-18 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
Herring’s contribution was critical in the third quarter when the Knights pulled away. He scored eight straight points in one juncture that helped sway the momentum in favor of the home team.
“The third quarter was the difference,” Knights head coach Bryan Rowsom said. “I told our guys at halftime that the team that plays the best the first five minutes of the third is gonna win so we really focused that a lot.”
The Knights outscored Mono Vampire 25-10 in the third period, changing the complexion of the game. But the Thailand squad did not go down without a fight as they stood their ground and made one last push in the fourth. Michael Singletary, who was struggling throughout the game, once again found his shot late and knocked down two crucial 3-pointers as Mono Vampire made their run.
“Everybody knows Mono was much better than [being an] eighth seed,” mentioned Rowsom. “I felt like we were going to have to play them at some point in the playoffs. We prepared for them but they’re a great team.”
After a free throw by Romeo Travis, the deficit was cut to three with a little over five minutes left in the game. However, Malcolm White committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Wong Wei Long. The two collided that left the guard with a bloodied forehead. Sandy Kurniawan came in to replace Wong and shot four straight free throws, quenching the Mono run. Clutch shots at the charity stripe and lockdown defense sealed the win for the Knights.
Wong had 15 points, all coming from beyond the arc. Maxie Esho meanwhile had a tough shooting night, going just 2-for-11 from the field to end up with 14 points but did have 13 rebounds.
Tyler Lamb fired away 25 points and dished out five assists while Travis had another double-double performance of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Singletary, despite collecting six rebounds and six assists, only had 13 points in Mono’s final game.
The Knights become the third Indonesian team to enter the ABL Finals.
“It feels great because I wanted to do it for the fans and also for the country of Indonesia,” Rowsom said. “It’s very special.”
Game 1 between the Knights and the Singapore Slingers will take place this Friday, May 3 at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.