This wasn’t supposed to be a big match. But with Thew Phai Ngarm beating PEA last week, the circumstances changed, and it turned out to be the biggest match for both teams this season.
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BTSL 04/04/2015: Mono Vampires 63 : Thew Phai Ngarm 59
The “Green Giants” Thew Phai Ngarm were coming off a huge victory over PEA from last week, notching their first victory and putting them in place for contention for 3rd place. They would need to win this game and their final game against the Nakhon Pathom Madgoats, which would be a high task, but at least they could see a part of the path to their destination.
Unfortunately, they ran into an enormous 7 foot road block named Anthony McClain.
The BTSL finally released the stat sheets to the public last week and the number from Anthony McClain were monstrous. 25 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 Biggie Blocks! That’s a hell of a stat line.
McClain might have scored 25 points, which is almost half of the Vampires scoring total, but he did so taking 21 shots. For a guy who barely operates 7 feet away from the basket, he only made 50% of his shots which is not a poor number, but not exactly efficient. Let’s take a look at the “Green Giants” defense and see why.
Christian Boddin has quietly been on the most underrated interior defenders. He works hard to stand his ground and he should get recognized more for doing so. Watch him keeps McClain out of comfortable inside position to receive the ball here.
I liked the defensive scheme that Thew Phai Ngarm used to slow down biggie in the first quarter. Boddin would plant himself firmly in front of McClain, disrupting the direct passing lane from the wing to the inside player completely.
Of course, that meant that the area behind these two between the basket and McClain would be wide open. All the Vampire wings needed to do was lob a pass in over Boddin and they’d get a clear path to the basket.
But surprise! A lob pass takes time to reach the recipient’s hand.The instant that the ball is lobbed, Thew Phai Ngarm’s weak side defender will slide down to face up with McClain immediately.
McClain might get the ball, but it’s hard to work from there with a double team immediately in your face. McClain still got his shots, mainly because Thew Phai Ngarm wasn’t able to throw a bigger body than Bryant Austin as a weak side defender. The work that Boddin did on his part to keep McClain from getting the ball easily up front worked great though.
Once they had to rest Boddin and put in Theerawat Jantajon, they met up with McClain face-to-face in the post more which I felt made it easier for McClain to operate.
With all of that praise for the Green Giant’s defense, they could have done a whole lot better boxing out McClain from getting 9 of his offensive rebounds, one of which was a crucial basket that made it a two possession game with 24 seconds left.
Mono Vampire’s Kraiwit Wetwitayakit is not a star. I don’t think anyone expects him to be a star either. He doesn’t have flashy handles, he doesn’t make flashy passes, and he isn’t that athletic. But he damn well changes the tone of the game when he is on the court. I wrote way back in an article about the TBL about Kraiwit’s gaudy Net ratings, how the team scored more and the opposing team scored less when he was on the court. Even though I do not have the full numbers to support this claim, I am pretty sure that “Joi” is still doing the same thing.
He was on the floor as the Vampires made a run for their biggest lead in the second quarter. Once he went off, Thew Phai Ngarm built up a lead up to 8 points. But once he got back on the court, the Vampires rampaged back, making a run to the eventual win.
Kraiwait had 6 points, 1 assist, and ZERO turnovers while playing 16 minutes in this game.
It might just all be a coincidence that Kraiwit was on the court at the same time that the Vampires were making a run, but I feel that there’s something more to it.
Maybe Mono Vampire’s Sorot Soontornsiri is more comfortable playing the off-guard. With Kraiwit doing most of the ball handling duties, Sorot is more free to attack on the offense. He seems to be more willing to attack off the dribble knowing that there is another lead guard behind him.
Since “Bas” Kannut Samerjai has gone down with that wrist injury, it’s been interesting to see Coach “Seng” Prasert Siripojanakul tinker with having Sorot as an off guard like the time he used “Singh” Chanachol Klahan to bring the ball up.
I feel that the combo of Sorot and Kraiwit in the back court really maximizes the potential of the Vampires.
In my Opinion
In this part, I talk about the things I liked and did not like from watching this game.
1. We mean business: Bryant Austin came into this game and he showed early on that he knew how much this game meant. He opened up the first quarter with a dunk,
and mass murder.
But maybe he burned himself out too quickly as he went limping off the court in the 4th quarter. Had he still been fit in the 4th quarter, we might have had a different result to the game.
2. Children of the Devil: Austin wouldn’t be the only one limping around, as “Yong” Panurat Chatsiriyingyong went down with a knee injury himself late in the game.
He couldn’t have chosen a worse time to get injured, as I had just featured him in a “Man to Man” session the week before which only proves that sports journalists (self-proclaimed or not) are children of the devil and can jinx any player they write about.
UPDATE: Panurat’s knee injury turned out to be a 100% ACL tear with a partial miniscus fracture. I’d like to wish a speedy recovery to Panurat here as well.
3. Zebras: I respect the job of a referee. It is not easy to keep up with guys who are mostly half your age and are professional athletes. Then you have to listen to players and coaches of each team as they defend their case for each call. It’s not easy. I respect that, but sometimes it’s just a bit too confusing.
I wasn’t there on the court so I really couldn’t see completely what happened here, but it just seemed like nothing. There wasn’t any excessive contact. There didn’t seem to be any dirty shots made. Just a guy running through a screen. An offensive foul was called. It didn’t really help that the ref that made the call looked at the other ref like “Wait, you were going to make that call, right?”.
This was just plainly weird. It wasn’t a game changing play, but it was just really awkward.
This weekend the BTSL will not be having any games and will resume action next week. 2 games will be played with the schedule as follows:
Saturday, 18 April: Mono Vampires vs. PEA @ LED Building
Sunday, 19 April: Hi-Tech vs. Nakhon Pathom Madgoats @ Thung Kru Stadium
The games will be played from 2PM to 4PM local time on their respective dates and can be viewed live at Channel 3 Family.
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Pictures from the BTSL by Kuk Ornvisa Thewphaingarm