Mike Singletary was in high spirits after the Mono Vampire Basketball Club won their third straight game following a 92-76 drubbing of the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia last Saturday.
The Thailand squad put the rest of the league on notice that they’re out to make a strong playoff push as the elimination round nears its conclusion. They may have a 5-12 record, but their recent acquisitions have brought them a renewed conviction.
“I just think we’re finally getting our chemistry going,” Singletary explained on the team’s recent success. “I think we’ve had so many moving parts. It’s hard. A lot of people just think, you can just plug players in, and everything goes the same way, it’s now how it works. Our system here is different than most. We just had to get the right guys in here.”
Mono has recently signed two stars in Romeo Travis and Tyler Lamb. Travis, a 6-foot-6 big man out of the United States, is a seasoned professional who won various championships internationally. He is an imposing threat at the power forward position that can instantly provide a ton of points and rebounds. Lamb, meanwhile, came in as a local for Mono for the first time in his four-year ABL career. The Thai-American is a known scorer, playmaker, and topnotch defender. He was heralded as the Heritage Import MVP when he helped the then Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions win the ABL title two seasons ago.
“The biggest difference for us is team spirit and confidence,” said Mono head coach Douglas Marty. “With this new roster, I think everbody is kind of rejuvinated that feels collectively we can be good. We have a chance to creat something special. It’s a long way to go. Nine games and every game is critical. But we’re happy to be working everyday in building something new. That’s the main thing.”
Looking at the current roster of the Mono Vampire, they have elite scorers and playmakers across the board. They have their three World Imports in Singletary, Travis, and Malcolm White, but also have three former Heritage Imports with Freddie Lish, Moses Morgan, and the aforementioned Lamb. With all the influx of talent, Singletary assured that there hasn’t been any kind of ego management at all with the revamped lineup.
“These guys are all about winning. These guys are professionals, true professionals. Everybody has got to have to sacrifice something, that usually how it goes when you wanna win a championship,” he pointed out. That’s just how it goes. The (Golden State) Warriors got five all stars and they gotta sacrifice. Everybody’s gotta sacrifice. We got the right guys in here. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
“As soon as this roster was put together, everyone decided team first. That’s an emphasis for us all season. Guys are doing it now. They believe in it. We believe in it. It doesn’t matter, it’s only about the team score that matters to us,” echoed coach Marty.
In Thailand’s recent win against Indonesia, Singletary nearly had a triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists. White added 17 points while Travis and Lamb combined for 27. But the stat that’s most telling about the team’s newfound success is the team’s 29 assists. In fact, in their three-game winning streak, they’re averaging 32 assists per game, a testament that they’re sharing the wealth.
“We’re starting to buy in. Guys are starting to play, you know, we’re still not to our potential but we’re getting there. Each game is better and that’s all we can ask for,” beamed Singletary.
Mono is making a point to consistently share the basketball, especially with the departure of lead guard Jason Brickman. The ABL veteran was an elite playmaker and ball handler and had been the catalyst for Mono’s offense since last season. Singletary shared that the point guard duties have been shared within the team after Brickman’s absence.
“We had Jason here, obviously he’s the best point guard in Asia. I was okay playing off the ball. Here, it’s like point guard by committee,” Singletary said, mentioning that he likes being the decision-maker on the floor alongside Lamb. “Freddie is our starting point guard, but Freddie is more of a scorer. We want Freddie to continue to be aggressive so sometimes we need him off the ball. That’s where me and Tyler come in. We’re able to come in and handle the ball and run the team.”
With nine games left on their schedule, it’s now or never for the Mono Vampire Basketball Club. They are currently in ninth place but can still barge into the playoffs.
“Obviously we’re trying to win games as much as possible, obviously make a playoff push, but we just wanna get better,” Singletary said. “And I think from the first game from when we played the Wolf Warriors to where we are now is two completely different teams. Do as long as we continue to do that, and continue to trend upwards, the sky’s the limit for us.”