Mono Vampire Basketball Club is set to return to the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. The team is expected to make an official announcement in the following week after they return from China.
The possibility of them rejoining the ABL had been known to most fans for a while, gaining even more traction when ASEAN Basketball League COO Jericho Ilagan posted a tweet with nine flags, with Thailand being one of them.
— Jericho Ilagan (@jerichoilagan) September 19, 2017
Aside from the chatter in Thailand during the past couple of months, Sajjatam Kulsomboon of Tones and Definition also shared a seemingly platonic social media post from Mono Group Chairman Peter Bhodaramik showing a couple of Mono officials having dinner in Kuala Lumpur during the Southeast Asian Games that could have helped confirm the rumor; included at the end of the post was an ABL hashtag.
After a disappointing debut back in 2015, the club bailed on the league before the start of the following season so it is surprising that Mono have suddenly decided to come back after only one year of being away.
During the hiatus from the ABL, Mono Vampire hosted and won both their domestic tournaments in the Thailand Basketball Super League (TBSL) and the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) with the same core, many of whom have also played in the ABL during their lone season of participation.
National Team members like Ratdech Kruatiwa, Chitchai Ananti, Darongpan Apiromvilaichai, Chanachon Klahan, Kannut Samerjai, Sorot Sunthonsiri, Naratip Boonserm, and Teerawat Chantachon are likely to be retained for the upcoming season.
They are also expected to retain former ABL championship duo formerly with the KL Dragons, Reggie Johnson and Filipino-American point guard Jason Brickman, along with TBL Most Valuable Player Mike Singletary as their reinforcements.
The club is currently competing in the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou, China as the lone Southeast Asian representative (Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas was later added as a ‘wildcard’), but has already bowed out of contention and are currently playing for classification ranking. The experience playing against top professional teams in Asia should help them with needed preparation when the league opens in November.
Many fans welcome the return of Mono Vampire as a Thai representative, joining the CLS Knights Surabaya who have left the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL) as ABL’s Indonesian representative, though there are also many who are still hoping for the possible return of former champion teams Hi-tech Bangkok City and Satria Muda Pertamina Jakarta in the future.
The 2017-2018 season of the ASEAN Basketball Season will commence on November 17.