The Bangkok Brawl is back!! (Is that catching on yet?)
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It has been roughly one month and 6 days since these last two rivals met and approximately two months and four days since the first time. Hitech has won both time, but it must be reminded that they were playing both games on their practice court.
And Mono Vampires aren’t the same team as they were for the first two games. If that plays to their advantage, we’ll have to see at game time. The changes of the Mono Vampires have been well documented, with the Coaching Change to Coach “Joe” Sunthornphong Mawinthorn and Coach “Tong” Tongkiate Singhaseni and the import change from Quincy Okolie/Paul Butorac to Michael Fey.
The debut of both changes were a bag of mixed emotions. While the defensive system seemed to look better, it was only during the second half when it kicked in and before that, the transition defense had been disastrous.
Mike Fey’s debut was decent with 11 points and 8 rebounds, but his shooting was still a bit off (5/13) and he was slow in transition defense. For the Mono Vampires, they are going to be counting on Mike Fey to produce much more against rivals Hitech.
The Vampires could also be returning Chanachon Klahan, who has completed his services as a monk as planned. I might be a bit too hopeful to expect him to log serious minutes, especially now with a loaded frontcourt of Fey, Anthony McClain, Chaiwat Kedum, and Theerawat Chantachon.
One more interesting fact about this rivalry is that the Vampires have performed better, if only slightly, against Hitech Bangkok City. Of the 5 teams they have played, Mono Vampires best defensive efforts have been against Hitech Bangkok City at 38.4%. They also have a field goal percentage of 38.7% against Hitech Bangkok City, which is the second highest shooting accuracy they have recorded against all teams. It’s a very small sample space, but the numbers might be trying to say that the Mono Vampires certainly do bring their A-game when it comes to playing against their crosstown rivals.
But the point that has pushed Hitech over the Vampires (and mostly against all of their opponents) is their rebounding. Hitech rebounded 54.3% of total rebounds against their rivals but with Mike Fey in the mix, who knows if that will change.
While the Mono Vampires have gotten their first shot at competitive play against the Slingers, Hitech Bangkok City have been idle for a complete 20 days since their blowout win against the Pilipinas MX3 Kings. They’ve been keeping themselves busy with practice without about (with a Christmas Celebration here and there) but rust might be something that could swing the game to the advantage of the Mono Vampires.
There’s not much to say about the Hitech Bangkok City at this point, with this being their first game of the second half of the season. Hitech is still undeniably one of the best teams in this league but they have suffered from some inconsistency in shooting. They’ve had games where they shot in their mid-30% and lost two games because of that. If Hitech can figure out a way to get their shots to go in at a consistent rate, there shouldn’t be much to stop them.
Hitech’s local situation is still uncertain as Wuttipong Dasom, Bandit Lakhan, and Nakorn Jaisanook might have to attend the Thailand University games in Ubonratchathanee for Dhurakit Pundit University. However, the tournament is only in the early stages, and DPU might be able to get by without their 3 stars in the first round if they can agree to let them play for Hitech in this game. Let’s see around gametime how the situation unfolds.
X-Factor: Mike Fey
He’s back! Mike Fey just seems to always be there to be in the way of Hitech Bangkok City. And he’s back here again! Mike Fey could very well be that guy who pushes the Mono Vampires over Hitech to steal this much needed victory for their playoff hopes. Time and again, he’s proved that he has the scoring prowess to bother Hitech. However, this will only be Fey’s second time playing against both Chris Charles and Steve Thomas at the same time.
The last time around, when Fey was an Indonesia Warrior, he scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the loss. Not exactly inspiring numbers, but Fey was playing as the Warriors sole inside presence at the time. This time he has McClain, and that could turn Fey into a game changer.
There are a lot of intriguing storylines going on here which could be a wildcard in the matchup whether it is Mike Fey’s romance with Hitech or the possibility of Coach Tongkiate (who parted ways with Hitech on pretty awkward terms) coaching this game. But Freddie Goldstein is going to be a headache to handle, no matter how much of a veteran Froilan Baguion is.
I say Hitech Bangkok City wins by 7 points.
Thai TV Channel: Mono Plus
Internet Live Stream: ASEAN Basketball League Youtube Channel or abl.mthai.com
Venue: Chulalongkorn University Sports Complex
Time: 3:00 PM (GMT +7)
Feature Picture from Onvisa Thewphaingarm
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