Meralco loses to Vampire

September 27, 2018

NONTHABURi, Thailand -- Meralco did its best for three quarters against host Mono Vampire Thailand.

But Thai import Marcus Keene took over from there.

Keene  scored eight of his game-high 29  points in  a decisive stretch in the fourth quarter as Mono Vampire  rallied to beat undermanned  Meralco, 100-92, in the opening-day of the 2018 FIBA Asia Champions Cup at the Stadium  29 in  Nonthaburi, Thailand here Thursday.

Another import-- Michael Singletary -- also came up big with 25 points, including back-to-back baskets that gave theMono Vampire  a  96-89 lead late in the game.

Before  the late-game  explosion of  both Keene and Singletary, the   game  was tied for the last time at 70-all  going into the fourth and  final period.

Darongpang  Apiromvilaichai added 13 points and Nopporn Saengtong  contributed 11 points for Mono Vampire, who are  hoping to  improve  their fourth-place finish last year.

Diamond Stone, a last-minute replacement for the injured 7-2 Canadian Liam McMorrow, led Meralco with 23 points and eight rebounds,

Two-time PBA Best Import awardee Allen Durham finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds for the Bolts, who led by as many as eight points before  losing steam.

Baser Amer  added 18 points and Reynel Hugnatan had 13 points for Meralco, which played minus Fil-Ams Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge.

Newcome  and Hodge failed to get the green light to play as local players in the week-long competition featuring  eight top ballclubs from  from around Asia.

Meralco will  resume its campaign   whn it meets  B. League titlist Alvark Tokyo today.

The  Bolts will  close out  their  group elimination assignment against  defending champion Al-Riyadi of Lebanon on Sept. 29.

The PBA-backed  Bolts, who   are seeking to end  the country’s 22-year  title  drought, now  need  to sweep their remaining two assignmentsd to advance to the semifinals of the premier Asia club competition.

The last time the Philippines won the Champions Cup was in 1996 courtesy of Hapee Toothpaste, which was then reinforced by Bobby Parks and Tony Harris.

Last year, the Isaiah Austin-reinforced Chooks-to-Go Philippine team finished fifth in Chenzhou, China.

The scores:

Mono Vampire  (100)--  Keene 29, Singletary 25, Darongpan Apiromvilaichai 13, Saengtong 11, Klahan 7, Chanthachon 6, Ananti 4, Suktub 3, Sunthonsiri 2.

Meralco  (92) -- Stone 23, Durham 20, Amer 18, Hugnatan 13, Caram 8, Salva 5, Tolomia 3, Jamito 2, Atkins 0, Ballesteros 0, Canaleta 0, Lanete 0.

Quarterscores: 21-28; 47-50; 70-70; 100-92.