There is a lot of unfinished business left hanging in the air here for the Mono Vampires coming into this game.
The Mono Vampires had never played the Singapore Slingers before. That is of course, because it is only their first season in the ASEAN Basketball League. However, if you see a majority of the players on the Mono Vampires going at this game with a purpose in their eyes that might resemble “vengence”, you shouldn’t really be surprised.
Let’s turn the clock back to June 12, 2015.
The Thailand National Team were playing the Singaporean National Team at OCBC Arena in the group stage of the SEA Games. As fiesty as the Singapore National team has been, that effect was multiplied even more when they took stage as hosts of the event.
Thailand were making a rally and with 47.5 seconds left on the clock, Danai Kongkum hit a free throw to make it a 4 point game. Singapore inbounded the ball to Wong Wei Long who got double-teamed by Kannut Samerjai and Darongphan Apiromwilaichai.
Wong Wei Long would be called with the “5 second violation” call and the possession was going to be Thailand’s with 42.6 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately for Samerjai, Wei Long tussled a bit and got a hand whacked in the face.
Even more unfortunately, Ratdech Kruatiwa saw that as a violent action towards his team mate and retaliated by throwing the ball at Wei Long and getting into his face. There was probably some frustration as well, which caused him to look over the fact that the team just got a crucial turnover. Kruatiwa would be called for a technical foul, causing his team the ball, a chance to chip away into the lead, and ultimately, the game.
You can relive the moment, here, at the 1:15:17 mark onwards.
Let’s turn the clock back to June 15, 2015.
Coming off an impressive close loss to SEA Games champions, Philippines, Thailand were coming in as favorites in the bronze medal game in a rematch against Singapore. They were expected to ride the emotions of almost bringing down the Philippines along with the vengeance of their last matchup with Singapore to take home the Bronze.
Things didn’t go as planned, and Thailand were left going home without a medal.
All of that is pretty much the past now. I’m sure that, as professionals, these games are pretty much in the back of their heads. But somewhere deep down, these Mono Vampires that represented the Thailand National team, especially Ratdech Kruatiwa, will want some redemption by taking down the Singapore Slingers who are fielding 9 of that Singapore National Team squad.
The Vampires has been doing quite well with their “Local” approach in the ABL having Kruatiwa leading the way with 15.5 points of 28.1% three-point shooting. Darongphan Apiromwilaichai has also been a force with 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Anthony McClain has been their bulldozer with 17.5 points and 14.0 rebounds per game.
The Slingers themselves are depending a lot on their locals with only one ASEAN import, Kris Rosales. However, they have been anchored a lot by their World imports, Xavier Alexander and Justin Howard. Alexander has been averaging 26.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
Ng Han Bin and Wu Qing De will also be returning to the Slingers lineup after missing out on their two away games. They might be game changers if Mono Vampire are caught off guard without having seen them in their scouting reports. However, having played both in the SEA Games, they should be able to more than prepared.
I really like how the Mono Vampires have been playing and feel like their 0-2 record could have easily been 2-0 under a couple of slight changes. But what’s been hindering them back is luck as it was in the Aguilas game and the Hitech game. I pretty much expect the same here in Singapore. The Mono Vampires will be playing in OCBC Arena, where Thai teams have suffered tremendously over the past year. Hitech themselves won only 1 out of 3 games in this place and as mentioned, the Thailand National Team remain winless against Singapore here this year. the Slingers will also be playing their first game with their entire roster, in their home court, and with more rest than the Vampires who had only recently gone through a tough game against Hitech Bangkok City.
Mono Vampires will play well, put up a good fight, but eventually succumb to unfortunate circumstances.
TV Channel: TBA
Internet Live Stream: ASEAN Basketball League Youtube Channel
Venue: OCBC Arena
Time: 4:00 PM (GMT +8)