Tiu on Mighty’s big win vs AUD: ’Not the real competition’
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Team Mighty Sports-Philippines may have opened their campaign with a rousing win, but coach Charles Tiu thinks it’s best to tone down the hype
“We played a good game, but I don’t think this is the real competition,” said Tiu.
Mighty Sports hacked out a a dominant 87-58 victory over American University in the Dubai International Basketball Championships on Friday night, February 1, at the jampacked Al Ahli Club gymnasium here. (READ: Odom-led Mighty Sports wrecks AUD to open Dubai campaign)
“This is probably the weakest team in the whole tournament,” Tiu said of their opponent composed mostly of collegiate players.
Cheered on by a predominantly pro-Filipino crowd that filled up the 4,000-seater arena, the Filipino cagers flexed their muscles early on and never let up for an auspicious start in the invitational cage tournament.
Justin Brownlee came off the bench and led the attack with 17 points in just 9 attempts, highlighted by 3 triples, on top of 6 boards in 18 minutes of play.
Big man Randolph Morris had 14 points and 6 rebounds to help Mighty Sports’ cause, while Fil-Am wingman Jeremiah Gray also came up big with 15 points, including an emphatic jam in the 2nd period.
Former Ginebra stalwart Jett Manuel proved he still has it with 12 points, spiked by two treys, underlining the solid support provided by Mighty Sports’ locals.
Former Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom, the poster boy of the Philippine club team, only had 4 points on a 2-of-10 shooting, but did account for 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and a block in his first competitive game in 5 years.
“He may have yet to show his sharp form of old but we are more than glad to see him enjoy the sport that he loves,” said Mighty Sports team owner Alex Wongchuking. “He played most to the crowd and for sure, he will only get better from hereon.”
Up next for Mighty Sports is an expected tough test against fellow Group A member, host UAE national team, on Saturday, February 2, at 7 pm (11 pm, Manila time).
Mighty Sports 87 – Brownlee 17, Gray 15, Morris 14, Manuel 12, Banal 8, Adams 7, Odom 4, Santillan 4, Gomez de Liano 4, Wongchuking 2, Gutang 0, Yeo 0.
AUD 58 – Trab 20, Mbengue 10, Faroug 8, Morgan 6, Johnson 5, Bin Khatam 3, Farah 2, Albreiki 2, Ferns 2, Mohammed 0, El Ali 0.
Quarter: 23-9, 47-20, 68-37, 87-58