Mono Vampire Basketball Club of Thailand notched the victory against Meralco Bolts-Pilipinas, 100-92, in their opening day match of the 2018 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) runners-up kept in step with the Bolts of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for much of the game, before dealing the finishing blow in the final quarter.
Both teams were tied at 70-all entering the fourth quarter before the Thai club exploded for 30 points and barred the resilient Bolts team from completing a comeback.
Marcus Keene impressed in his debut for Mono Vampire, leading all scorers with 29 points while also adding eight assists. Resident import Mike Singletary struggled from the field but still managed to add 25 markers, while Thai national team mainstay Darongpan Apiromvilaichai had three steals to go with his 13 points.
Allen Durham and Baser Amer had 20 and 18 points each for the Bolts, who played without key cogs Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge after both players were unable to secure clearance from FIBA.
The Filipino squad were already entering the tournament shorthanded due to the absence of Jared Dillinger and Ranidel De Ocampo, who are recovering from foot and leg injuries, respectively. Diamond Louis Stone also replaced Liam McMorrow in the lineup as the team’s second import.
Meanwhile, Mono Vampire was without long-time court general Jason Brickman, who suffered a quadricep injury earlier in the offseason.
The Meralco Bolts will face Japan B.League Champions Alvark Tokyo tomorrow at 13:00, while Mono Vampire is set to defend their home floor against the defending FIBA Asia Champions Cup titlists Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut at 15:30 (+7 GMT). Both games will be held at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
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