The BTN CLS Knights used a 23-8 third quarter to pull away from Mono Vampire Basketball Club for an 86-77 victory to go up 1-0 in their semifinal series.

Maxie Esho led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Brandon Jawato added 18 (8-of-8 from the free throw line), Douglas Herring had 13 markers and six dimes, while Indonesian national team guard Arif Hidayat delivered 11 big points off the bench and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field.

On the visiting side, Freddie Lish contributed big as a non-starter with 15 points. Romeo Travis scored team-high numbers with 16 points on 50 percent shooting, 13 boards and two steals. Additionally, Malcolm White finished with 10 points while Mike Singletary and Tyler Lamb struggled all game long and ended with nine markers each.

Both teams were tied at 40 apiece coming out of the half and began the third quarter continuously trading baskets. Towards the end of the quarter, it was a 14-0 run by the home team within a three-minute span that put last season’s runners-up from Thailand into chasing position.

CLS maintained its composure for the majority of the final period and had all but secured the win with just under two minutes remaining in the game as both teams subbed out their starters with the Knights holding an 18-point advantage.

However, a late 10-0 run created by Mono’s local players Chitchai Ananti, Darongpan Apiromvilaichai and Teerawat Chanthachon off the bench cut the deficit to single digits, forcing all of the Knights’ starters to re-enter the game.

Ultimately, the visitors’ rally would fall short, but the effort and mentality in which they ended in could provide positives to build upon for the Thai club as they head home for game two on Wednesday.

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