By Jonas Terrado
(Stadium 29, Nonthaburi)
4 p.m. — Mono Vampire vs Alab
New-look San Miguel Alab Pilipinas hopes to start its road to redemption on the right track against host Mono Vampire in the ASEAN Basketball League at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
Coach Jimmy Alapag expects another difficult task against Mono in the match set at 4 p.m. as Alab tries to regain the crown after an quarterfinal loss to Hong Kong Eastern last season.
“Big test for us to start the season, especially playing on the road and it’s their home opener,” said Alapag.
Alapag enters the new ABL campaign sans old reliables like import Renaldo Balkman and three-time Local Most Valuable Player Ray Parks Jr.
Alab will now be led by imports Adrian Forbes, Khalif Wyatt and Nick King and Fil-Americans Jason Brickman and Jeremiah Gray.
Lawrence Domingo and Brandon Rosser, the only holdovers from last year’s squad, are also eager to make an impact for Alab.
Alab is looking to capitalize on its win over Gilas Pilipinas in a tune-up match earlier in the week.
“I told the guys that if we play with unselfish mentality like we did (against Gilas) and play with that same effort, we’ll give ourselves a chance,” Alapag said. “It’s a long season but we’re looking forward to the opening.”
Returning to familiar surroundings is Brickman, who was an integral part of Mono’s run to the 2018 Finals where it lost to Alab in five grueling games.
Mono will be led by imports Mike Singletary, Preston Knowles and Ryan Watkins and Thai-Americans Tyler Lamb, Fred Lish and Moses Morgan.