ABL: KLD 73-79 Mono Vampire post game analysis
Coming up against the league leaders with a shorthanded line up, we put up a spirited fight, coming close but ultimately falling 73-79 to Thailand’s Mono Vampire Basketball Club.
The team travelled to Bangkok without Kuek Tian Yuan, Chin Cheng Wah, Loh Shee Fai, Nicholas Tem Zhen Jie and Teoh Yi Kang. All five players will be representing Malaysia at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines.
Despite Mono starting the game on a 5-0 run, we were quick to hit back thanks to Simeon Lepichev’s fine form in offence that gave us 6-0 run to take the lead.
The game remained close but thanks to back to back baskets from Will Artino, we ensured we took a 19-15 first quarter lead.
The second quarter proved a difficult one for us as Mike Singletary took over the game, scoring 12 points for Mono to regain the lead and push it to as high as nine.
Determined not to let Mono run away with the game, a big three pointer from Amir Bell and a basket from Simeon Lepichev ensured it was only a four point 38-34 lead for Mono going into the half time break.
The third quarter was a scrappy affair with both teams struggling to find their rhythm on offence. Jumpers from Tyler Lamb and former Dragon Freddie Lish pushed the lead to five for Mono late in the third before Cade Davis’s buzzer beating shot from halfcourt made it a two point game going into the final quarter.
We carried the momentum into the fourth quarter and finally regained our lead thanks to a Will Artino layup. A three pointer from John Wong sparked another great run for the team as we stretched the lead to six through an emphatic dunk by Will Artino with five minutes remaining.
Unfortunately for us, a three pointer from Chitchai Ananti sparked a 14-0 Mono run as the league leaders struck hot from beyond the arc late in the game.
We did our best to salvage the game and were able to make it only a three point game with less than a minute remaining through Amir Bell’s fourth three pointer.
Alas, yet another Mono three pointer from Mike Singletary proved the dagger to send us to our first loss of the season.
Our best performer was once again Will Artino with 20 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists. Artino also put up a herculean effort on defence, holding his counterpart center Ryan Watkins to only two points.
Amir Bell had 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists while Simeon Lepichev also logged in a double double performance with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.
“I’m really proud of the way we battled throughout. We’re developing a really tough team,” said Head Coach Jamie Pearlman after the game.
“I’m proud of the way we committed to each other on the defensive end but we lacked the ability to execute our offence under pressure tonight. Credit to Mono for their defensive pressure on us.”
“Going down the stretch, we had a genuine chance to win the game but unfortunately we didn’t. That’s one area that we really need to improve on, and that’s closing out games.”
The team will attempt to bounce back against the Macau Wolf Warriors on the road on the 5th of December in Foshan, China.
The Wolf Warriors are still looking for their first win of the season but have shown a much improved performance from their debut season where they finished with only two wins.
In their most recent game, they came close to breaking their eleven game losing streak, but dropped a close heartbreaking overtime loss to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.
The Wolf Warriors come into the new season with a new head coach, Todd Purves. Purves is no stranger to the ABL as he led the Indonesia Warriors to the ABL championship in 2012.
Reinforcing their line up is Steven Thomas, a two time ABL champion and former Defensive Player Of The Year. Thomas was recently named one of the ABL’s top ten players of all time.
Point guard, Doug Herring Jr who was instrumental to CLS Knight Surabaya’s championship last season and 29 year old forward Julian Boyd complete’s the team’s import line up. Last season’s top local scorer, Cai Chen will also be a key threat for the Wolf Warriors.
Our fans can catch the game live on ASEAN Basketball League’s YouTube and Facebook page with repeats on Astro Arena.