The Philippines Meralco Bolts got its first blow in the opener of the 2018 FIBA Asia Champions Cup against the host team, the Thailand Mono Vampire, 92-100.
Apart from their first loss in the current competition, the Meralco Bolts has extended its losing skid to four where three of them came from the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Without their go-to-guys Jared Dillenger and Ranidel de Ocampo who are both in sidelines due to injuries plus the disapproval of FIBA to Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge to play as local, struggled to execute their plays.
Newly joined Bolts member Diamond Stone started the pace for the nationals as he scored 15 points in the opening quarter. However, in the following quarters, Thailand coaching staff made adjustment and limit his output.
Second and the third quarter was a dogfight as both teams keep the score close. As they entered the final quarter, the score was tied at 70-all.
Then Marcus Keene showcased his offensive skills as he dropped eight straight points in the opening of the fourth period. The spurt was Thailand’s 8-0 run in just less than a minute and put them ahead, 78-70.
That was also the biggest lead of the Mono Vampire against the Meralco Bolts in the game.
Coach Norman Black quickly called a timeout and inserted back Diamond Stone back in the lineup. Meralco answered back with its own 4-0 run behind the shots of Stone and Amer Baser.
However, the combination of Keene and Michael Singletary are too much for the Filipinos as the lead of national team’s opponent ballooned back to ten, 82-92 with only 3:54 left in the game.
Meralco took its last stand and was able to cut the lead back to only three points after Amer Baser found the trailing Allen Durham, 89-92 with only 1:54 remaining in the final quarter.
Thailand’s Marcus Keene answered back with his top-of-the-key jumper and in the following possesion Michael Singletary converted a difficult contested shot. That puts Mono Vampire up again with seven points, 96-89.
With time is no longer on Meralco’s side, the only option they can do to stop the clock and hope that their opponent will miss is to give an intentional foul.
They fouled Thailand’s forward Chanachon Klahan but the Thailander player able to sank all of his four freebies.
The next game of Philippines Meralco Bolts is scheduled tomorrow September 28 at 1:00 PM versus the Japan Alvark Tokyo.
Philippines Meralco Bolts vs Thailand Mono Vampire Box Score
Mono Vampire (100) – Apiromvilaichai 13, Keene 29, Klahan 7, Singletary 25, Sunthonsiri 2, Ananti 4, Chanthachon 6, Saengtong 11, Suktub 3
Meralco Bolts (92) – Amer 18, Caram 8, Durham 20, Hugnatan 13, Stone 23, Jamito 2, Salva 5, Tolomia 3