The last time Jason Brickman played in the ABL playoffs, he finished it with his hands up high, celebrating a championship with the Westports Malaysia Dragons and taking home the Finals MVP award.
Brickman displayed his playoff mode once again as Mono Vampire Basketball Club scored a crucial 103-94 victory in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinal duel with Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club in Nanhai, China.
It was the very first time that the first-ranked Kung Fu lost a game on their homecourt.
In an outstanding display of individual brilliance, Brickman led the Thailand-based team with 25 points and 15 assists while also adding four rebounds and three steals to his stacked stat-line. The ability to control the tempo for Mono Vampire and make sure that their opponents kept guessing where the offense would come from was what ultimately gave them the victory as the 103 points Mono Vampire scored was the highest output allowed by Kung Fu at home.
Mono Vampire’s Sam Deguara had a hard time establishing himself down low as he faced a formidable foe in Justin Howard. However, his fellow starters picked up the slack as Mike Singletary pumped 29 points in the game while Paul Zamar chipped in 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the field.
The first quarter started like most games for Kung Fu as they took control of the contest thanks to the solid play of their big man Justin Howard. They grabbed a 27-19 lead after the first 10 minutes. However, Mono Vampire displayed the fiery offense that they’ve been known for all season long as turned the game on its head in the second quarter.
After Kung Fu stretched their lead to 12 points, 35-23, Mono Vampire unleashed a 19-0 blast anchored on four three-point shots. The visiting squad has 12 assists in the second quarter while the home team did not register a single one as Mono Vampire took a 56-45 lead at the half.
Chong Son tried multiple times to mount a rally in the third quarter but the visitors always had a reply with their lead stretching up to 17 points, 81-64, off a Brickman basket.
Mikh McKinney led a late rally for Kung Fu as he scored 14 of his team high 32 points in the fourth quarter. The talented Heritage Import rifled in a three with 3:16 left in the game that cut their deficit down to five points, 93-88. This would be the closest they would get as key baskets from Brickman, Zamar, and Singletary sealed the deal for Mono Vampire.
After McKinney, Kung fu only had two other players scoring in double digits with Anthony Tucker adding 24 points with 13 rebounds and seven assists while Howard fell one rebound short of a double-double with 20 points and nine caroms.
Game 2 of this semifinal series shifts to Stadium 29 in Bangkok, Thailand on April 18 at 1 pm where the home team can punch its ticket to the ABL Finals.