Mono Vampire Basketball Club stole home-court advantage as they took down San Miguel Alab Pilipinas 103-100 on the road in Game Two, evening the series at one apiece in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Finals on Wednesday night.
The Thai club started out hot and closed the opening quarter with a slim 24-20 lead over the home team, led by Mike Singletary’s 10 points and big man Sam Deguara adding six points and seven rebounds. Alab Pilipinas counterpart Justin Brownlee also opened the game hot, scoring 11 points while pulling down three rebounds.
Thai national team mainstay Darongphan Apiromvilaichai finished the first half with 12 markers after pouring in nine second quarter points, while Heritage Import Jason Brickman added 10 of his own to help hold off every Alab Pilipinas rally.
The third-seeded Philippine club trimmed the deficit to 52-45 before intermission, after trailing by as much as 10. Renaldo Balkman finished the first two quarters with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and a blocked shot.
Point guard Josh Urbiztondo hit three shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter to spark a mini-run by the home team. They were able to tie the game at 66-all with a 9-0 run which was capped by a three-point play from Renaldo Balkman at the 3:38 mark, but Mono Vampire was able to stretch the lead back to five to end the third quarter at 78-73.
Both teams continued to go back-and-forth in the final quarter. Sam Deguara made an and-one underneath the basket off a feed by Jason Brickman, giving his team a three-point lead with 1:10 left in the game. Balkman followed by hitting two free throws to cut the lead back to one.
Sam Deguara then corralled a defensive rebound off a Bobby Ray Parks Jr. missed baseline jumper, and Paul Zamar hit two free throws with 15.4 seconds left in regulation. Down three points and control of the game’s final possession, Justin Brownlee and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. missed consecutive three-point attempts as time expired to allow Mono Vampire to steal one on the road.
Deguara anchored Mono Vampire as he played through foul trouble and finished the game with 30 points, 20 rebounds, and two blocked shots. Fellow world import Mike Singletary contributed 26 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, receiving Player of the Game honors.
Newly-minted Defensive Player of the Year Renaldo Balkman played all 40 minutes, notching 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocked shots. Two-time Local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks Jr. added 21 points, eight boards, and four assists in the losing effort.
Mono Vampire now holds home-court advantage over Alab Pilipinas in the best-of-five championship series, having a chance to close the series on their home floor if they can string two straight victories.
The series will shift to Stadium 29 in Bangkok, Thailand on April 28 (Saturday) and 30 (Monday) for Game Three and Four of the ABL Finals.