The improbable happened in the first four games of the 2019 ABL playoffs as the top two teams ended up losing the home-court advantage they’ve worked hard for all season long.
After San Miguel Alab Pilipinas fell to Hong Kong Eastern a couple of the days ago, first-ranked Formosa Dreamers also lost via an even bigger upset to the eighth-seeded Mono Vampire, 83-80, Sunday afternoon Changhua County Stadium.
It was a tightly contested game with no team leading by more than seven points but it was Mono Vampire that showed more poise in the end game even if their team was still fresh off a massive overhaul that saw the departure of erstwhile head coach Douglas Marty.
A tight end game was surely a big test for Mono Vampire as they’re still trying to pin down chemistry with their new coach. It sometimes looked like a coaching committee with the players being very vocal and even injured shooter Ratdech Kruatiwa speaking in their huddles sometimes.
In the end, even if the methods of Tongkiat Singhasene were sometimes unorthodox, it worked out to their advantage with a huge win.
Mono Vampire entered the final period with a five-point disadvantage, 67-62, but they wasted no time in getting back into the ball game as they were already up by one, 70-69, with barely two minutes gone by. The two teams traded stint’s on the driver seat until late in the game.
Back-to-back baskets coming from Romeo Travis cut Mono Vampire’s deficit down to a single point, 80-79. With Formosa missing twice on the next possession, the visitors took the lead off a layup from Moses Morgan to surge ahead 81-80.
After another miss from Cheng Wei, Mono Vampire gained possession with Michael Singletary being sent to the line for two free throws, which he made to extend their lead to three.
The last-ditch effort of the Dreamers to save home-court was to run a play through Will Artino but the quick hands of Travis forced a turnover, giving the victory to the away squad.
Singletary led Mono Vampire with a tremendous all-around effort composed of 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and four blocks. Travis added 19 points and 11 rebounds while Tyler Lamb chipped in 17 markers.
Mono Vampire got a lift from Freddie Lish and Morgan who both scored nine points apiece.
Both teams were missing the services of two key guys as Formosa was without Malcolm Miller while Mono Vampire was without Malcolm White. The interesting fact is that Miller averages three more points compared to White and this was exactly the difference in the game.
In the end, Formosa missed Miller’s leadership and steadiness compared to White’s size for Mono.
Tevin Glass led the Dreamers with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Artino also had a double-double with 21 and 11. Kenny Chien chipped in 11 points for Formosa while Wu Yung Cheng and Cheng scored 10 each.
Game 2 of the series will be played in Stadium 29 on April 3 with Mono Vampire hoping that they would upset the top-seeded team for the second straight season.