After a rocky start in the ninth season of the ABL, the Mono Vampire Basketball Club have fought all the way back to clinch the remaining playoff berth.
The Thailand squad was able to secure a seat in the postseason with a rousing 91-87 victory over the Westports Malaysia Dragons, Sunday at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Six players from Mono finished in double-figures with Michael Singletary leading the offense with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. Thai-American Tyler Lamb was right behind with his output of 18 points and five dimes. World Imports Romeo Travis had 13 points while also pulling down 13 boards and Malcolm White contributed 12 points.
Rounding up the well-balanced offense were Freddie Lish and his 10-point, 7-assist performance and Moses Morgan who had 14 points, anchored by four treys off the bench.
After starting the season with a disappointing 2-12 record, last year’s finalists won eight of their last 10 contests, including five straight victories. From what could have been a disastrous season, they’ve turned things around and are now assured of a playoff spot with a 10-14 record.
And on Sunday against the team that was on their heels for the eighth spot, Mono Vampire showcased their deadly form. They shot 47 percent from the field, including 10-of-14 from beyond the arc. They were also able to dish out 21 assists as exhibited by six players scoring at least 10 points.
Mono unfurled seven straight points in the fourth period to establish a nine-point lead, 74-65. The strong start to the quarter shifted the momentum in favor of Thailand as Malaysia was left reeling. Every time the Dragons tried to cut the down the lead, huge buckets from Lamb and White kept Mono up front. Back-to-back baskets from White gave his team its biggest lead at 11 points with roughly three minutes left in the game. The Dragons sliced it to eight but Lamb delivered the dagger layup with 1:17 remaining.
Winston Shepard had a herculean effort of 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists. Unfortunately, his triple-double could not lift the Dragons who have lost their second straight contest. Chris Eversley put up 26 points, including 7-of-14 from deep, and eight rebounds.
The Dragons have dropped to a 7-17 record. After winning the ABL title in the league’s sixth season, they’ve missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
The two teams will go head-to-head once more on Wednesday in Thailand to conclude their season series.