Led by John Fields, Hi-Tech Basketball Club was able to overcome rivals the Mono Warriors 80-78 in Game 1 of the Thailand Professional Basketball League (TPBL) Finals.
The Warriors jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, which included two made three-pointers from Mike Singletary, but a Hi-Tech local combo of Chanatip Jakrawan and Nattakarn Muangboon ensured that their team ended the opening period holding onto a 16-12 advantage.
In the second period, the two-time ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) championship winning club continued to build on its lead, using strong perimeter scoring to stretch its advantage to 14 points going into the half.
However, Singletary and the Warriors remained resilient coming out of the break and evened up the score at 50 points apiece following a made long ball from the American import. After three quarters, Mono only trailed by a single point at 60-59.
In a tightly contested final period, Mono local Chitchai Ananti evened up the score at 78 with 19 seconds remaining after converting on a tough and-1 basket. Xavier Alexander then followed that up with a clutch dish to John Fields down low, which the big man finished at the buzzer to seal the win for Hi-Tech.
Fields finished the game with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, while local sniper Nakron Jainasuk added 18 big points and five boards.
The Warriors’ Ananti led all scorers with 26 points and was trailed closely by Singletary, who ended with an impressive 25 points and 15 rebounds.
“Mono players have played together for many years and certainly, their ABL experiences help them,” Hi-Tech Head Coach Chris Daleo acknowledged of the opposing Warriors. “Their history of playing together can prove to be a strong asset.”
Regarding his team’s Game 1 victory, the American tactician added: “John [Fields] played very big down the stretch. When I can give quality minutes to OLM [Jakrawan], that allows John to stay fresh and strong. That helps over a 40 minute game.”
Daleo also pointed out that his team will have to play with the same intensity if Hi-Tech is to finish off the Warriors in Game 2.
“We have to play hard, communicate, and execute down the stretch to ensure a championship,” concluded Daleo.
Game 2 of the TPBL Finals is slated for 18:00 (local time) September 4 at Stadium 29.
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