Mighty Sports-Philippines arrived today in the most popular Middle Eastern city to begin their search for redemption in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship.
The team is looking to fare better this time around after a forgettable initiation last 2017 where it managed to win only once in eight games. Reinforcements Justin Brownlee, Randolph Morris and Lamar Odom will provide the additional size, length, wisdom and experience to an otherwise youthful squad.
They will go up against fellow Group A member American University in Dubai (AUD) tomorrow at 7:00 PM (11:00PM Philippine time) in the Shabab Al-Ahli Club.
The Filipino squad will then lock horns with host UAE national team on Saturyday, 7:00 PM before taking on the formidable Homenetmen-Lebanon on Sunday at 9:00 PM.
After a one-day break, Mighty will conclude their preliminary round campaign agasint Al Wahda-Syria at 9:00 PM on Tuesday.
Scrambling in Group B are Al Riyadi-Lebanon, Al Nift-Iraq, Sports Club Beirut-Lebanon, Sala-Morocco and the Jordan national team.
In the Dubai tourney, 10 teams are divided into two groups (A and B) and will each figure in single-round preliminaries. The Top 4 teams from each group will advance to the quarter finals on Thursday, February 7.
The winners will then proceed to the semifinals on Friday and the two victors will battle for the crown on the last day on Saturday, February 9.
“We barely have any scouting report on who we will be facing right off the bat but I’m optimistic we are more than ready to do well to make our Kababayans here proud,” said team owner Alexander “Alex” Wongchuking.
Head coach Charles Tiu expects a tough grind in this tournament where each game is crucial in the path towards the championship.
“We have to keep our collective focus on the task at hand. How we will perform in the first game will set the tone for our campaign,” said Tiu.
Import Justin Brownlee is excited to showcase his scoring prowess on his second Dubai trip as multi-titled Chinese Basketball Association veteran Randolph Morris is expected to be the game changer with his physical presence and soft shooting touch inside the paint.
Rising star Juan Gomez de Liano and solid veteran Jason Brickman will run the pace while Fil-Ams Jeremiah Gray and Roosevelt Adams get to exhibit their skills.
Fellow Xavier School stars and former PBA players Joseph Yeo, Jett Manuel and amateur league star Gab Banal will also have their fair share of the action.
Collegiate standouts Santi Santillan, Justin Gutang and Troy Rike will provide enough contribution to the team.
Supporting Charles Tiu at the mantle are former national team mentor and multi-titled PBA coach Jong Uichico, ex-Xavier star Woody Co, Ateneo’s Dean Castano and TY Tang with Wowie Evangelista and Edrick Ferrer serving as the team manager and assistant team manager, respectively.
Mighty Sports is co-owned by brothers Alex and Caesar Wongchuking, backed by SMDC, Oriental Group, Healthcube and Go For Gold.