Mono Vampire Basketball Club will have no time to rest after a grueling five-game series against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Finals, as they will be tasked with defending their title in the Thailand domestic league and hosting the FIBA Asia Champions Cup SEABA Qualifiers in the following days.
“I’m excited to be able to take a few days to rest and recover, and then get back at it. We won the championship last year, so we want to be back-to-back champs,” said import Michael Singletary of the the team opening the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) season, which started only days after the ABL Finals.
Mono Vampire will battle a field of 10 teams as they try to defend their domestic championship against local rivals and former two-time ABL Champions Hitech Basketball Club, Madgoat Basketball Club, Black Scorpion, PEA Basketball Club, Thailand General Equipment (TGE), Mekong Raptors, Bangkok Tigers, T-REX Basketball, and Srinakharinwirot University (SWU).
“I think we just wanted to enjoy the season as a team after the game and just reflected on the season in the locker room after,” admits Singletary, after the Thai club was not made available for a post-game press conference right after their Game Five heartbreak at Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna, Philippines.
The team was soon seen outside the dugout in good spirits and celebrating a relatively successful ABL campaign, where they finished with a grand total of 20 wins and nine losses, including a sweep of the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. An impressive feat in comparison to their rookie season in the league in 2016, where they struggled and only managed to win three out of 20 regular season games.
“I think we’re all a little bit disappointed that we didn’t win the championship as that was one of our goals,” acknowledges Singletary, but adds that the team is proud of what they were able to accomplish this season, and wants to build on the wave of success the franchise has been on.
“To put the season in perspective, it was a great year for us. We played our best basketball in the playoffs and really battled against a very good team in the finals. Just extremely proud of my teammates, staff, and the whole Mono organization.”
Within the past two years, Mono Vampire has won one TBL and two Thailand Basketball Super League (TBSL) championships domestically, and was one win away from winning the regional league title. Now they are looking to win their second consecutive TBL crown, while also representing Thailand in the upcoming FIBA Asia club championships.
Mono Vampire will host the SEABA Qualifiers for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup against Pelita Jaya (Indonesia), Red Baron (Malaysia), and Xin Hua (Singapore) on May 8-10 at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
The top two teams will advance to the next round to join teams from Chinese Taipei and India, which will qualify one team to the Final 8, joining the group of composed champion clubs from Australia, Japan and the Philippines.