Now that the ASEAN Basketball Season 6 is over in the elimination round stages, we will take this time to take this time to take a look back at the seasons of all six ABL teams.
Here’s the season review for the Mono Vampires.
I think we all saw the potential that the Mono Vampires possess. This season seemed like a rookie making rookie mistakes. Be very afraid next year.
Season In Review
The Mono Vampires just seemed to walk out of the gates with their shoes on backwards and on the wrong feet. Deciding to not use any ASEAN/Heritage imports (to start the season) was bold, but it didn’t make their lives easier. Deciding to play 9 of their first games away from home in order to wait for a home stadium that would not be constructed in time cost them a chance at getting rhythm early in the season. Deciding that they would be okay with Quincy Okolie as a World Import…was a bit too naive.
Just plain rookie mistakes.
The Vampires would start their rookie season with 5 straight games going against all 5 teams of the ABL. They would also pick up 5 straight losses. It was 5 straight very close losses, with all five games be decided by no more than 6 points and an average of -4.4 points per game. But they still lost.
They would eventually pick up their first win against the Pilipinas MX3 Kings but that wasn’t enough to keep the Mono Vampires to start making changes. From then on, it would seem like we were getting a look at a new Vampires team every game.
In the 8th game of the season against the KL Dragons, the Vampires placed Quincy Okolie on the injured list and brought in Paul Butorac.
In the 9th game of the season against the Pilipinas MX3 Kings, the Vampires gave in to their policy and brought in Froilan Baguion.
In the 12th game of the season against the Singapore Slingers, the Vampires changed the Coaching staff by changing Coach “Seng” Prasert Siripojanakul to interim Coach “Joe” Sunthronpong Mawinthorn, released Paul Butorac and Quincy Okolie, and brought in Michael Fey.
In the 14th game of the season against the KL Dragons, the Vampires brought in Baguion’s running mate, Leo Avenido.
In the 15th game of the season against Hitech Bangkok City, the Vampires finally added Chitchai Ananti to their local roster which was something they should have done a long time ago.
Just when we thought they were done, the Vampires made one last change from Michael Fey to Cleveland Melvin in the 17th game against the Pilipinas MX3 Kings. This was the end of the roster change deadline and I’m pretty sure that if there wasn’t a deadline, the Vampires would still be tinkering with their line ups.
But change isn’t bad. Or maybe it can be. It depends on how you look at things, but that has been the story of the Mono Vampires season.
At the very least, the Mono Vampries were one of the most entertaining teams in this league this year having played in two overtime games including that one historic game against Hitech Bangkok City which had to be resolved with a 39 second replay one month later.
It’s a bit hard to find something good to say about the Mono Vampires offense. They were decent efficiently (45.6 eFG%) by making (and taking) a lot of three-point shots.
But other than that, there wasn’t too much to be excited about the Vampires offense. They had the highest turnover rate (17.9%) which would plague them all season. They had the lowest offensive rebounding rate (30.9 ORB%) aside from the Pilipinas MX3 Kings.
The Vampires had plenty of offensive talent, of that I’m sure of, but I think it was just a case of the lack of consistency. I already spread out how many changes the Vampires went through the season, and that’s a lot of change for a team to go through during a 20 game season. It’s hard to blame anyone if they couldn’t get their offense going.
Here’s some silver lining to ponder on though. At the turn of the mid-season changes (after the 11th game), the Mono Vampires really improved their offensive production:
Pre-coaching change Vampires: 72.9 PPG, 15.7 APG, 39.0 FG%, 26.9 3P%
Post-coaching change Vampires: 84.3 PPG, 18.2 APG, 43.2 FG%, 31.0 3P%
This just shows you that they are on the right path in the ABL.
The Mono Vampires had some bright spots (or a bright spot) on defense, but let’s tackle the negatives first.
The Vampires weren’t the most imposing forces on defense. The backcourt was unable to pressure the opposition into turnovers (as evident by them have the second lowest forced turnover rate at 15.9%).
Maybe the biggest problem for the Mono Vampires were that they were unable to stop the opposing team in transition. They did a decent job defending the perimeter (allowing only 29.1 3p% shooting) but allowed a 2nd worst 48.1% shooting inside the arc. Most of those were scored on the fastbreak, where Anthony McClain was slow to get back on defense and the backcourt struggled to stop the opposing team to push the ball ahead.
As the season went on with all the changes, the Mono Vampires found it harder to stop opposing teams in the paint as well. As bad as Quincy Okolie was on offense (and he was historically bad), he was a terror on the defensive end with his long arms and defensive instinct. With Okolie, the Vampires allowed only 39.0 FG% which would be only slighty behind the Slinger’s best defense in the league. Since changing out Okolie, the defense has been allowing 45.2 FG% which is worse than what the Pilipinas MX3 Kings give up.
But hey, the Vampires led the ABL in block percentage at a ridiculous 11.9 BLK% rate so they have that going for them.
It’s kind of like have the best shield in the entire kingdom but it’s so heavy that by the time you actually raise it up, you are almost fatally wounded.
Mono Vampire’s record kind of diluted what was a pretty impressive season Anthony McClain had. Sure, McClain was a main reason why the Vampires were so bad in transition defense but he was also the main reason why they were decent in the half-court set on both sides of the court. His 55.1 eFG% is behind only Reggie Johnson among World Imports. The Mono Vampires had one of the worst Offensive Rebounding rates in the ABL, but that didn’t stop Anthony McClain from posting the highest Offensive Rebounding rate in the league.
His 5.7 BLK% rate was a big part of the Mono Vampires defense and I know that McClain’s presence alone was able to alter a lot of the opponents shots. And he didn’t foul out in a single game!
While he could have been better (48.5% from the free throw line is cringe-worthy) but he brought enough on the court to make the Mono Vampires a decent team.
After that, the Mono Vampires were quite a mess at signing imports.
I’ve mentioned above about Quincy Okolie and his presence on defense and it needs to be mentioned again that he logged an impressive 6.4 BLK%, but he didn’t bring much else to the table, especially on offense.
Actually, the other World Imports that the Mono Vampires signed weren’t much of an impact on offense. The World Imports of the Mono Vampires combined for only 42.8% of the total scoring of the team, lowest in the ABL. There were only 3 World Imports that averaged less that 10 points per game: Paul Butorac (9.0), Michael Fey (9.0), and Quincy Okolie (8.4). And they all played for the Mono Vampires.
Of course, the Vampires would redeem a bit of their pride by last-minute switch to Cleveland Melvin. He would break into the scene immediately by scoring 41 points on the Pilipinas MX3 Kings and would end the rest of the season averaging 25.0 points shooting an impressive 42.3% from downtown. It would have been fun to see how the Vampires would have been with a full season of Melvin…but alas, we’ll never know unless the Vampries resign him next season.
Finally, we have to mention Leo Avenido and Froilan Baguion. I have all the respect for the two Filipino ABL legends and it was nice to see the Mono Vampires sign them so that they could continue their streaks of playing in this league…but I felt this was a panic move that the Vampires instantly felt they shouldn’t have done.
Both were brought in late in the season but neither logged more than 16 minutes a game (15.6 for Baguion, 11.3 for Avenido). They didn’t really have any moments where they seriously impacted the flow of the game for the Mono Vampires either.
In a way, it was kind of like watching Patrick Ewing play for the Orlando Magic or Hakeem Olajuwon playing for the Toronto Raptors late in their careers. Just left a sort of sad bitter tingle in the mouth for both sides involved.
Well, that escalated quickly.
If I had a nickel for every time someone has told me that the Mono Vampires have arguably the best local line ups in the league…I wouldn’t be a millionaire because I don’t think the ABL has that big of a following yet, but I would have a lot of nickels.
The local scored 57.2% of the teams points, most in the ABL while playing 60.5% of all Mono Vampires minutes. I guess that says a bit about how bad the Mono Vampires imports were offensively as well, but you have to credit the locals for stepping up.
Samerjai had a historic 38 points in 40 minutes of regulation, which was easily the highest scoring output by a local in the ABL. While his performance has been all over the place (6 double-digit scoring games, 5 games with no points), he’s proven himself to be a creative shot creator (2.2 assists, 7th among locals) as well as a deadly three-point shooter (38.7 3p% off 3.1 attempts per game).
Speaking of deadly shooters, the Vampires also had Ratdech Kruatiwa who took 8.3 three pointers per game while making 29.3% of them. While it can be said that he was too trigger happy sometimes, opposing teams weren’t that happy when he is allowed to take easy shots as well, as he scored a solid 8.6 points per game.
The Vampires late addition of Chitchai Ananti brought quite a buzz as well. Ananti used his long arms to get to the basket at will to scored 13.3 points per game (but only played 6 games). He had the second most points by a local this year (29 points) in only his second career ABL game. Ananti’s length was disruptive on defense even though he was prone to foul. Again, it is fun to imagine how better the Vampires could have been if only they used Ananti since the start of the season…but we’ll just have to wait for next year.
Buried deep in the conversation was Darongphan Apiromwilaichai who quietly had a pretty consistent year. He scored in every game he played and flirted with a triple-double for a game or two. He didn’t have any explosive moments, but he scored a solid 8.2 points per game (6th among locals) to go with 3.3 rebounds per game (5th among locals) and 3.0 assists per game (2nd among locals). This is without even mentioning the effect he had on defense (1.2 steals, 4th among locals) where he would get into the heads of the opposing players. This is one player who I feel might have been severely underrated only because his team mates were playing so well.
I have yet to even mentioned Natakarn Meungboon and Pairach Sekteera, but I already feel like I’ve made my point.
The Mono Vampires had a really, really, strong local roster. If only they could have nailed their import line up…
I just put in the “+” only for the sake of the Vampire Girls who entertained every one of us at the home games.
But there is no shame in getting a “D” in your rookie season. They tried and they made mistakes that they didn’t foresee would have happened. They won the games that they were supposed to win and they were close to pulling off a couple of huge upsets as well.
Could they have done better? Yes. But it was improvements that I didn’t really see them making this year. They showed strides at the end of the season (getting Melvin and Ananti were nice moves) but in the end, this is graded on the entire season. They went through a mess during the middle of the season, but they should be pleased with where they stand looking into the future heading on.
The Vampires have tasted blood and they will be out for more (Mandatory Vampire pun!). From what I’ve heard, the management have learned from their mistakes and are taking approaches to fix them. IF they can hold on to this local roster (maybe add a big guy) and get the right imports, I don’t see why they couldn’t be a serious contender next season. They will be having their own home court next season as well.
The future is bright, which is kind of silly because Vampires don’t really like bright situations but whatever.
Let’s take a look back at what I said about the Mono Vampires at the start of the season:
Mono Vampires will be fielding a very solid local roster.
That might have actually been an understatement.
The tempo and physicality that is played in the ABL is a notch higher than in the Thailand Basketball League and while I have faith that the Vampire guards will grow into it, there will be some growing pains.
17.9 turnovers per game is a lot, bro.
They will have more talent than that of the one-win Laskar Dreya South Sumatra from last season, but they still might be a step behind the rest of the older teams.
But at least they were one step ahead of the Pilipinas MX3 Kings!
I’m predicting a 6-8 win freshmen season for the Mono Vampires.
Not that far off! But I was still a bit too optimistic.
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