STA. ROSA, Laguna - A scrappy Mono Vampire side dealt San Miguel Alab Pilipinas a deflating 103-100 defeat in Game Two on Wednesday night that enabled the Thai side to steal homecourt advantage in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals.
Giant slotman Sam Deguara and fellow import Mike Singletary got big support from Filipinos Paul Zamar and Jason Brickman as Mono Vampire got the better of Alab in another fiercely fought match at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex.
Instead of staring at a 0-2 deficit, Mono Vampire now goes home to host Alab in Game Three on Saturday at Stadium 29 in Bangkok with the best-of-five championship series tied at 1-1.
The 7-foot-5 Deguara bucked early foul trouble to carry the Thai side in the endgame, powering his way inside for a three-point play with 1:10 left in the fourth to give Mono a 101-98 lead.
That Mono cushion held up all until the final buzzer as a drained Alab side couldn't buy a basket in the final seconds, with the usually reliable Justin Brownlee missing twice from three-point land in the final seconds after sitting out a long stretch owing to an apparent injury.
Deguara finished with 30 points, 20 rebounds, and two blocks in a huge bounce back for the Maltese-Italian import, who fouled out late in regulation in Sunday's series opener.
Mike Singletary added 26 points including a three-pointer with 1:34 left as Mono retook the lead, 98-96.
Bobby Ray Parks, who was named the league's local MVP for the second successive season, provided the biggest support for Renaldo Balkman and Brownlee. His basket tied the match for the last time at 98-all.
"Obviously, we are thrilled and pleased to come in here and come out with a win, especially after the first game. So proud of the team and their resiliency. Alab is such a strong group and every time we made a run, they have an answer," said Mono Vampire coach Douglas Marty.
Balkman had 37 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, while Parks had 21 points and eight rebounds for Alab to atone for a sub-par showing by Brownlee, who finished with 14 points.
Joshua Urbiztondo finally found his range for Alab, finishing with 14 points. He made back-to-back threes that was followed by a three-point play by Balkman to tie the game at 66.
Zamar clustered five points to put Mono back in the driver's seat, 73-69, stopping the Alab momentum.
Mono Vampire 103 - Deguara 30, Singletary 26, Brickman 15, Zamar 12, Apiromvilaichai 12, Chantachon 4, Klahan 4, Sunthonsiri 0.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas 100 - Balkman 37, Parks 21, Urbiztondo 14, Brownlee 14, Domingo 4, Javelona 4, Alabanza 2, Hontiveros 2, Raymundo 0.
Quarterscores: 24-20, 52-45, 78-73, 103-100.