Westports Malaysia Dragons put up a difficult fight against third seeded Mono Vampire, but the fans kept cheering on for the team despite losing the shot to Vampire at 102-108.

The second last match for the Dragons was a close matchup but the Vampire finally overcame the gritty home team to seal the win.

“It was a hard game and we did everything we could to win,” said Dragons’ head coach Christopher Thomas.

Dragons and Vampire were head to head right from the start and double foul including one technical was called on Davis in the early part of the quarter, putting him back on the bench as Dragons kept their lead ahead of Vampire, 10-9.

The three free throws gave an opportunity for Vampire to reclaim the lead from the Dragons as the exchanges put Dragons at five point deficit, 10-15.

Vampire went on a scoring run 10-0 from the free throws, pushing ahead by 9 points midway into the first quarter, 10-19.

Dragons started to pick up putting Vampire into a two consecutive fouls, shaving their lead down to five.

Fast paced Dragons tipped the Vampire’s rhythm off in the court, squaring it off with Munzon hitting an impressive fast break followed by a long shot three pointer, 19-21.

The Dragons eventually tied the game at 21-21 with Eversley’s layup and Munzon stole the ball again to put the home team ahead, 23-21.

Dragons were held up again and towards the final 18 seconds, Munzon tried again with a jump shot but was unable to finish the shot. Mono was tied again with the Dragons at 25.

Both teams were trading baskets from one side to another, Vampire’s Chitchai Ananti led the way ahead with five points, but that did not get in the way for the Dragons.

The Dragons fought back and caught up with the Vampire from Munzon and Eversley, the duo shut the opponent down to just two points 39-41 with 5.11 minutes left before half time break.

It was just a spur of a moment when Munzon took on a three pointer to put the home team ahead at 42-41, the Vampire retaliated back with 10-2 and leading ahead by six points in the last two minutes before half time, 44-51.

Dragons were missing several shots as the clock ticked down to the half time, Vampire’s Singletary attempt to close the quarter with a layup at a buzzer beater slid a strong lead by 14 points, 44-58.

Dragons were tied with Vampire earlier, but they were tied to only 19 points in the second quarter compared to 33 from the opponent, particularly by Michael Singletary and Zamar who scored 19 points combined.

As the Dragons crawled the points back to a single digit, Eversley put up a feat and posterised Deguara to shave Vampire’s lead down to 9, 51-60.

Davis headed back to the bench when he booked his fourth foul from blocking Deguara, the Dragons slid back to a 12 point deficit behind Vampire, 53-65.

The game became heated when Chin Zhi Shin picked up his third foul and exchange of words as Dragons’ head coach protested against the call was also given a technical call.

Although it was a short setback, the pesky Dragons gave it all and clawed back up to just seven point deficit as Purdy sank a three pointer in the last four minutes of third quarter, 60-67.

The two teams were swinging back and forth, the Dragons finally got close to five points towards the two minutes of the quarter. Vampire’s Singletary closed the third quarter with 8 points ahead of the Dragons, 73-81.

Just 19 seconds from the start of the quarter, big man Davis booked his fifth foul back to the bench. Without the big man on board, Eversley and Munzon had to shoulder the weight for the team.

Dragons’ hope was kept alive, baskets after baskets from Eversley and Munzon gave the team closer to four points behind Vampire, 82-86 in the early three minutes of the final quarter.

The high powered match got the fans on their feet with rousing support, Deguara moved back to the bench after booking his fourth foul. The Dragons were still trailing behind by 7 points, 86-93 at 5.40 minutes.

Mono Vampire moved up a notch to a man-to-man defense, trying to deter the Dragons at the basket. Dragons’ Purdy and Munzon took on a back-to-back basket and clinched their 90th point, just five points behind Vampire midway in the final quarter.

Gritty Vampire did not let their guards down putting back their big man Deguara back in the court after the time out to keep the Dragons away from the paint.

Tian Yuan’s decisive three pointer followed by Eversley gave the Dragons a point shy away from Vampire at 98-99 in the last two minutes of the game. Luck was not on the side for the Dragons when Tian Yuan booked his fifth foul right after his three pointer.

Time out was called in the final minute of the game, when Singletary’s layup gave the Vampire back up with a seven point lead, 98-105. Right after the time out call, Munzon leap up in the last 35 seconds for a layup, cutting down the lead down to five, 100-105.

Vampire leveraged on the free throws and Eversley last basket closed the game at 102-108.

Dragons’ Joshua Munzon led the team with 43 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals while Chris Eversley scored 34 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks.

Westports Malaysia Dragons will face Hong Kong Eastern on March 25 (Sunday) at 2.30PM MABA Stadium Kuala Lumpur.

Statistics

Westports Malaysia Dragons

Joshua Munzon (43 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals)

Chris Eversley (34 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks)

Kuek Tian Yuan (10 points, 7 rebounds)

Jawhar Purdy (9 points, 3 assists, 3 steals)

Mono Vampire Basketball Club

Samuel Deguara (29 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks)

Michael Singletary (24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists)

Paul Zamar (22 points)

Teerawat Chanthachon (11 points 6 rebounds)