Hi-Tech Basketball Club sweeps the finals series against rivals Mono Vampire after taking game two, 95-87, ending a five-year drought to take the 2018 Thailand Basketball League (TBL) Championship.
Prior to this series, Mono Vampire has won three straight championships over Hi-Tech. That streak includes the Thailand Basketball Super League (TBSL) earlier in the year, where Hi-Tech themselves got swept in the finals despite going undefeated in 18 regular season and two semifinal games.
Head coach Chris Daleo then decided on a massive roster shake-up prior to the start of the TBL season, retaining a only a few key guys like ASEAN import Avery Scharer, veterans Nakorn Jaisanuk and Kannawat Lertlaokul, and the young frontcourt duo of Patiphan Klahan and Chanatip Jakrawan.
The the former two-time ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Champions also facilitated the return of one-time ABL Heritage Import MVP Tyler Lamb, while adding Singapore Slingers’ Xavier Alexander and former national team court general Nattakarn Muangboon to help them get over the hump.
In game one, Hi-Tech flashed their depth after five players finished in double-figures. But it took a Muangboon last-second three to force overtime against the Vampires, where the eventual winners were to pull away with a 101-93 victory.
Hi-Tech was lifted by a repeat performance in game two by newly-minted TBL best point guard Avery Scharer who had 26 points, nine assists, and six rebounds, while Lamb and big man Anthony McClain added 18 and 13 points each. Nakorn Jaisanuk and Chanatip Jakrawan chipped in with 21 combined points to complete another balanced attack.
Chitchai Ananti led all Mono Vampire scorers with 17 markers, while Jason Brickman had 15 points and eight assists. Samuel Deguara scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Mike Singletary added 14.
“Winning a championship means a lot because of all the work we put into it. I have a lot of respect for Mono Vampire organization and what they have done for me while I played there, but I’m just happy to win this after losing to them last time in the finals,” said McClain, who played for both Mono Vampire and the now-defunct Mono Thewphaingarm teams in the past.
For his part, head coach Chris Daleo felt it was just a matter of time before they finally broke through against their recent finals tormentors: “I’m so happy for the ownership, manager and fans of Hi-Tech basketball. Such a rich winning tradition and they have not raised the championship trophy in the last five years. I’m glad I was able to do my part because I wanted them to be a pet of winning championships again.”
“Everything came together and we can proudly hoist up the championship trophy. That is what makes the hard work worth it. I’m also happy for the players that have been with me the last couple of seasons. We have been challenging Mono and have always come up short. They worked hard, believed in the system and each other and they deserve to be called champions,” added the multi-titled American head coach after the championship win.
Meanwhile, Hi-Tech’s affiliate team TGE won third place after blowing out PEA, 132-97, in the consolation match.