Mighty Sports routs Homenetmen Lebanon with a 16-point victory, 92-76, to win bronze medal in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship.
The Filipino squad was definitely geared up for greatness as they set the tone in a balanced attack the entire game against the Lebanese squad.
Jett Manuel, who only had 6 points in the tournament before tip-off, had a hot start scoring the team’s first 8 points.
100-year-old sports club Homenetmen showed good defense early to cut Mighty’s lead 7-point lead down to two, 23-21, in the opener.
In the second quarter, Santi Santillan oiled the early offense with 6 points to help regain an 8-point lead.
The Lebanese, led by Jerar Hadidan, kept attacking and playing defense but still fell short in stifling the competition.
Juan Gomez de Liaño sparked a 5-0 run including a 3-point buzzer-beater to close the half in favor of his team, 42-34.
By the third frame, Jeremiah Gray made two exciting defensive plays to keep the momentum for Mighty.
In the 3:30 mark, Elias Rustom received a technical foul leading to a charity shot for Mighty. Lamar Odom scored his first point in the league off the technical to a roaring Filipino crowd.
The crowd kept cheering as Odom made a block in the next play leading Homenetmen to gain two technical fouls. The high-profile import made another 2-of-2 ‘T’ shots making the fans chant his name once more.
Lebanon could not keep up with the Charles Tiu-led squad in a pivotal third period who led with thirteen points, 67-54.
In the final outing, Mighty built a 10-1 run early starting with a Gab Banal and Troy Rike connection to lead 77-55 at the 6:00 mark.
Odom made his first ever triple with 2:53 left much to the delight of the Filipino fans and his teammates.
Manuel capped off the win with a jumper to lead Mighty with 19 points on 80% shooting.
Randolph Morris added a solid 11 points and 6 boards while Brownlee had 10 markers, 6 dishes, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
Roosevelt Adams also scored 10 and Odom contributed 8 points and 5 boards.
Hadidan led Homenetmen with 23 points, 8 boards and 2 steals while Rustom added 20 points and 8 rebounds.
Mighty Sports ended the tournament with a 6-1 record. The bronze finish was a great redemption from Mighty’s dismal initial outing in 2017.
“I’m very satisfied with the result because we’re going home with a medal,” team co-owner Alexander Wongchuking said.
Fellow co-owner and brother Caesar Wongchuking quipped, “we initially said reaching the semis would already make us happy so this third place finish is already a big accomplishment.”
“We’d like to congratulate all our players, coaches Charles (Tiu), Jong (Uichico), TY (Tang) and coach Dean (Castaño) and everybody in the organization for their contributions,” he added.
Mighty Sports is sponsored by Healthcube, Go For Gold, SMDC and Oriental Game.
Photo by Dominic Uy