San Miguel Alab Pilipinas is one win away from being crowned the 2017-2018 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Champions, but the Mono Vampire Basketball Club plans to put up a tough fort in their final home defense.
The visiting Philippine team outfought the Thai club on the boards in game three, hauling in a total of 58 rebounds, including 28 offensive boards, which proved to be one of the crucial factors in the victory.
“It’s a tough game, I think both teams played with a lot of heart and obviously things didn’t go our way today,” said Mono Vampire import Mike Singletary following another close contest in the best-of-five finals series.
“They had a lot of offensive rebounds and we really got to be better than that. We know that’s kind of what they thrive on, and when you give up 28 offensive rebounds and allow them to get more chances, with guys like [Ray] Parks, [Justin] Brownlee and [Renaldo] Balkman, you know you are playing with fire so we just got to do a better job and we will do a better job on Monday.”
American head coach Douglas Marty also stressed how their Filipino counterparts performed better, stating “they are such an excellent team [with] second chance points, we must limit those, 28 offensive rebounds, two possession game at the end, that’s what we fell short of.”
Aside from remedying their rebounding, the Thai squad needs to find a way to slow down the Local MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who took over the game late in the fourth quarter. The top-notch swingman finished the game with a new ABL record by scoring a total of 30 points, the single highest postseason scoring mark for a local player.
“Parks has a tremendous game and he hit key baskets. Every time it looks like the momentum is shifting back towards us, we needed Parks to miss a shot, [but] he didn’t,” the American coach added.
“We were there a few times, but give him credit, you know, he was on. He’s a tough guard and Brownlee got going. Balkman was going early and then Brownlee picked up where Balkman left off in the second half.”
After a quick round of acknowledgement towards Alab’s performance, Marty also pointed out parts that his team has to improve on if they want to secure a victory on Monday.
“If we play better defense and limit their shooting percentage, we need to get the defensive boards. They are gonna get some but it has to be less than ten. It has to be.”
Singletary followed up his coach’s remarks by emphasizing their positive mentality even after a tough loss on their home floor. “We believe that there really is no deficit that we can’t come back from. That’s just the kind of mentality that we have as a team,” the high-scoring American would confidently say.
“It’s a win or go-home game for us, so for me, I will be ultra-aggressive, but also gonna try to help our team, whether that’s making shots, or passing to the open man, so whatever it takes, we will need that for game four.”
To cap things off, Marty also stated the confidence that he has for this team, a tough group of players who came a long way since the beginning of the season up until now. It’s definitely not the time for the Vampire to finish their season in Bangkok just yet.
“We know the challenge is big, but we like that, and we are happy to be here, and to have this chance in the finals, so I don’t think the guys are anxious about that, I just think the team is excited.”
The league’s best offensive team looks to be ready to put on the type of show they’ve been accustomed to doing all season long come Monday afternoon against a resilient Alab Pilipinas squad, hoping to bring the game back to the Philippines one last time in front of the same hostile home crowd at Stadium 29.
“We would love to get the tickets back to the Philippines, but it comes down to Monday, and we can earn it and we will do our best,” remarked Marty.
“We have been resilient all season and we are here for a reason. We belong here and we still think we can win this championship.”