ABL Finals: Mono Vampire defeats Alab Pilipinas in its home turf, levels series 1-1

MANILA, Philippines - The 7’5” Sam Deguara blasted San Miguel Alab Pilipinas with 30 points and 20 rebounds to help Mono Vampire Thailand post a 103-100 convincing win on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the Sta. Rosa Multi Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Sam Deguara’s 30 points and 20 rebounds helped Mono Vampire Thailand level the series 1-1
Sam Deguara’s 30 points and 20 rebounds helped Mono Vampire Thailand level the series 1-1 vs San Miguel Alab Pilipinas | Credits: news.abs-cbn.com

Just like how game 1 started couple of days ago, the imports of Mono Vampire Thailand used their height advantages to take the early 14-16 lead.

Alab Pilipinas struggled to make baskets due to the enormous presence of Mono’s Sam Deguara who heavily clogged the shaded lane to deflect any penetration attempt by team Philippines.

It took Alab 8 minutes to decode Mono’s defensive plays and finally captured the lead. Justin Brownlee headed the offensive run with a back-to-back monster breakaway dunks.

Thailand’s heritage import, Fil-Am Jason Brickman wrapped-up the opener from the three point territory and reclaimed the lead 24-20.

Even without the 7’5” Deguara, Thailand’s defense underneath the basket was super tight that forced Alab to take the shots from the outside but missed most of them in the beginning of the 2nd quarter.

Philippines shot poorly at the rainbow arc in the entire second. In contrary, Thailand kept draining triples for its first double-figure advantage, 46-36 with over 3 minutes remaining in the first half.

Alab Pilipinas barely cut the lead to 7, 52-45 at the end of the 2nd period. Despite the low output, Alab will savor the 3rd quarter with Sam Deguara nursing his 3rd personal foul.

Alab missed the services of Josh Urbiztondo in game number 1. But the “Fireball” redeemed himself in this game as he started the 3rd quarter with 4 consecutive three pointers and trimmed the lead to just 3.

This year’s Co-Defensive Player, Renaldo Balkman tied the game at 66 with 3:30 left in the quarter and his partner, Justin Brownlee completed the comeback with another trey.

Mono Vampire’s other heritage import, former UE Red Warrior Paul Zamar, abruptly got aggressive to counter Josh Urbiztondo’s offensive attack and closed the third with a 5-point, 78-73 lead.

Not a good 4th quarter start for Mono Vampire Coach Doug Marty as his prized center obtained his 4th personal that prompted Alab Pilipinas to pound the basket hard. Philippines successfully put itself ahead of Thailand with just a minute gone by.

Renaldo Balkman committed his 4th personal foul as well on defending Sam Deguara at the 3-minute mark with the ballgame tied at 90.

Deguara managed to preserve his last personal foul and stayed on the floor. The Maltese-Italian giant gave his team a 103-100 advantage with 15 ticks left in the game.

Coach Jimmy Alapag drew his final game plan that directed his wards to take the shot from the outside for the equalizer. Justin Brownlee found himself open twice but missed both attempts.

As Mono Vampire tied the series to 1 apiece, the Thais will now have the chance to take a 2-1 lead on Saturday as the home court advantage switches to its side.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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