It wasn’t their best offensive showing, but the Mono Vampire Basketball Club still managed to pull out a gutsy 85-82 Game 1 victory over the Singapore Slingers on Friday at Stadium 29 in Bangkok.
Sam Deguara put up 21 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out. Local veteran Darongphan Apiromwilaichai scored 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter while Paul Zamar exploded in the fourth to end up with 12 points and two huge triples.
Mono was heralded as the best offensive team in the league in the regular season. They were averaging 101.2 points a game but found themselves in a dogfight against the best defensive team in the league in the Slingers.
The Slingers dragged Mono into a grind-it-out contest, limiting them to 38 percent shooting. They deployed their signature defense on Mono, particularly with Michael Singletary. The World Import came into the game as the league’s second-leading scorer with 29.8 points but was stifled to a 4-for-16 shooting to end up with 15 points.
However, despite the struggles of Singletary and the foul trouble of Deguara, Mono still came out on top thanks to a huge fourth quarter. They couldn’t find their rhythm but finally gained momentum in the pivotal period, sparked by Zamar’s back-to-back triples with under four minutes left in the game.
The two teams went on to trade one huge play after the other in the closing minutes. Clutch free throws by Singletary and Teerawat Chanthachon gave Mono a slim 83-80 advantage with 19.7 seconds remaining.
Singapore countered with a daredevil drive by Xavier Alexander to make it into a two-point game. The Slingers were forced to foul to stop the clock but Zamar converted on his free throws with 9.4 ticks left on the clock.
AJ Mandani heaved a desperation three that missed and Mono held on for the win.
Mono was able to overcome a monster game from Chris Charles. The ABL veteran had 26 points, 23 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Alexander also had a huge double-double of 23 points and 12 boards.
Mono will try to close out the series when they travel to Singapore for Game on Sunday.