DUBAI – Al Ryadi survived a scare from Mighty Sports-Philippines, hacking out a 100-95 overtime win to complete a six-game sweep of the eliminations in the 28th Dubai International Basketball Championship late Wednesday at the Al Ahli Indoor Stadium.
Without Kiefer Ravena who fractured his hand in the team’s 100-93 loss to Homennetmen last Tuesday, Chris Tiu stepped up offensively and Mighty Sports managed to give one of Lebanon's premier clubs a big fright before absorbing its fifth straight loss.
Mighty Sports was playing against local side Ball Above All with Tiu and company vowing to give their all for the sake of the Filipino community here.
“We know it’s hard for them to see us losing games so we will do everything we can to make them happy tomorrow,” said Tiu, who finished with 11 points, including three pressure-packed charities with no time left to force the overtime.
Lebanese stars Amir Saoud and Wael Arakji failed to shine this time but Serbian import Branco Cvetkovic almost single-handedly carried the team to victory by scoring 13 of his team-high 23 points in extra time.
He was ably backed by Abdul Wahab Aminu and Mohamad Ali Haidar who finished with 22 and 16 points, respectively.
The 6-foot-6 Cvetkovic knocked down his sixth triple of the game to give Al Riyadi a safe 97-93 lead with 30 ticks left.
Backed by Rain or Shine and Scratch it, Mighty Sports had two chances to get closer – and perhaps win the game – but bungled the opportunities.
The US-trained Ravena became the team’s cheerleader as he came into the game with a cast on his right hand but appeared pretty good as he gamely posed with his fans here.
“I need to rest for three to four weeks before I can handle the ball again, so it’s just OK. I will just rest,” said the high-leaping former Ateneo King Eagle.
In what could be its finest start, Might Sports raced to an early 20-8 lead, but Al Riyadi roared back with Abdul Wahab Aminu leading the way to grab the lead 23-22 at the end of the quarter.
AL RIYADI 100 – Cvetkovic 23, Aminu 22, Haidar 16, Ismail 14, Saoud 10, Zaloum 4, Arakji 4, samaha 4, Abd 3.
MIGHTY SPORTS 95 – Brownlee 27, Thabeet 16, McGuire 14, Tiu 11, Miller 8, David 7, Arana 5, Teng 4, Belga 3, Douthit 0, Manuel 0, Intal 0.
Quarterscores: 23-22, 36-45, 62-60, 80-80, 100-95.