Charismatic Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee knows first hand the tough and competitive nature of the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship but is convinced that this year’s Mighty Sports team will definitely go far.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun out there so I hope Filipino fans in Dubai will continue to support us,” said Brownlee, who was intrumental in helping the Gin Kings capture the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title last season.
Strengthened by the presence of former LA Lakers star Lamar Odom and Beijing Ducks’ import Randolph Morris and young Fil-Am pair Jeremiah Gray and Roosevelt Adams, Brownlee is hoping the team will contend for the championship in the February 1 to 9 event.
“I’ll be sure to go all the way and hopefully we can win the championship,” said Brownlee.
Brownlee was part of the team that won only once in seven bouts last 2016.
This year’s participants are reigning champs Coastal Star (Tunisia), Mighty Sports (Philippines), Al Zamalek (Egypt), Al Ittihad (Egypt), Champville (Lebanon), Homenetmen (Lebanon), Beirut (Lebanon), Al Riyadi (Lebanon), Sala (Morocco) and UAE National Team.
Despite the humble import’s confidence, Mighty Sports co-owner Alexander “Alex” Wongchuking said success can only be achieved if team members will strictly embrace their roles.
“Sacrifice and determination is key,” said Wongchuking. “They should know that we are representing our country so they have to give their all.”
Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu expressed confidence in Fil-Ams Gray and Adams since they can provide additional firepower and length to the team owing to their experiences playing for various colleges in the US.
The 6-foot-4 Gray is coming off breaking Dominican College;s single-season scoring record in the NCAA Division II with 509 points with averages of 18.9 points per game and a 42 percent field goal percentage, including a 34 percent 3-point clip.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5 Adams firms up Mighty Sports’ backcourt as he boasts a 41-percent clip from the arc and an 80 percent free throw percentage while averaging a respectable 12.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Joining Brownlee in this year’s team is ex-Ginebra teammate Jett Manuel, former PBA star Joseph Yeo, Gab Banal, University of the Philippines playmaker Juan Gomez de Liano, La Salle’s Santi Santillan and College of St. Benilde’s Justin Gutang and Fil-Am Troy Rike.
The team is co-owned by brothers Alex and Caesar Wongchuking and backed by SMDC, Healthcube, Oriental Group and Go For Gold.