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Mono Vampire spoils Nakiea Miller's Pilipinas debut in win

By Ivan Saldajeno

BANGKOK--Not even an import change can stop Pilipinas' bleeding.

Mono Vampire withstood the acid test of new non-Asian reinforcement Nakiea Miller and took down Pilipinas, 76-74, in their ABL at the Chualongkorn University Stadium on Saturday night.

Miller, who once played for the defunct AirAsia Patriots, immediately provided inside presence in his return to a Philippine ABL team lineup and joined forces with ex-PBA players Jason Deutchman and Eric Salamat to hand Pilipinas a 22-17 first quarter lead.

But Anthony McClain, Jittaphon Towaroj, and Kanut Samerjai sparked Mono Vampire's second quarter charge and led the team to the dugout holding a 40-37 halftime edge.

Both teams went toe-to-toe for most of the second half until a mini-run gave Mono Vampire a 72-67 advantage with 3:04 remaining in the game.

But four straight charities from Salamat and AZ Reid drew Pilipinas to within one, 71-72, with 1:36 left, setting up a potential down-the-wire finish.

Samerjai grabbed an offensive rebound off his own miss and found McClain for the easy basket to stretch Mono Vampire's lead to three, 74-71. Samerjai then sealed the win by stealing the ball from Reid and went all the way for the layup.

McClain finished with 26 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks for Mono Vampire, which won for the second time against seven defeats in the season, pulling the club out of the cellar. Both victories came against Pilipinas.

In his ABL return, Miller finished with 14 markers, four rebounds, three blocks, and two steals for Pilipinas, which slipped to last place at 1-6.

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