SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag was not surprised to see Mono Vampire Basketball Club bounce back strong from a deflating loss in Game One of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) finals.
And with the series now tied at one game apiece, Alapag only expects the ABL finals battle to get tougher with Mono armed with momentum and homecourt edge after Alab dropped a 103-100 decision at the hands of the Bangkok-based squad on Wednesday.
“Tough game. But anybody who anticipated a short series... I told the guys we have a dogfight in our hands. All of our focus now is try to get better and get ready for Game Three,” said Alapag.
The former Gilas Pilipinas skipper said Mono Vampire responded to the challenge for Game Two, with 7-foot-5 big man Samuel Deguara registering 30 points and 20 rebounds after fouling out in the series opener.
Mono also started out strong by taking a 14-6 lead midway in the first period.
“They were very sharp right from the start of the game. I thought we had a lot of lapses in the first half. Everytime it seems like when we made a breakdown and we made a mistake, they made us pay,” Alapag said.
The 40-year-old Alapag pointed out Deguara’s presence was key for Mono in Game Two, but also gave credit to Vampire’s other pieces in Mike Singletary, Jason Brickman, and Paul Zamar.
“Deguara really hurt us. A 30-20 game in a 40-minute game is a heck of a game. Brickman and Singletary were still there and even Paul Zamar, they all contributed,” said Alapag.
Alapag said expects another tough game on Saturday when both teams meet again at the Stadium 29 in Bangkok.
“I think the physicality will remain and I think it will only intensify as we get close to which team gets closest to three first. At the end of the day, it’s 1-1. All of our focus is on Saturday,” said Alapag.