DUBAI – Mighty Sports showed what it’s made of, hacking out an 85-81 win over Al Wahda Club on Tuesday night at the Shabab Al-Ahli Club to complete a four-game sweep of the group stage of the Dubai International Championship.
Facing another quality opposition it had been bracing for, the Philippine representative shrugged off a late six-point deficit by delivering on both ends of the floor – making stops that laid the foundation of 14 unanswered points that turned the game around.
Justin Brownlee and Randolph Morris were the constant figures, but Roosevelt Adams provided an extra offensive punch as the trio led the Mighty attack on the way to clinching the top seed heading into the quarterfinals.
“I’m just happy with the win,” Mighty coach Charles Tiu said. “We talked about at the start of the tournament, I told the team that we still haven’t faced adversity, and that when the time comes, we have to stick together, so today, we faced a lot of adversity.”
“Offensively, it will take care of itself, but defensively, we got stops when it mattered,” he added. “We played through the crazy officiating today, I mean a lot of bogus calls, the players were so upset, but it’s part of it, so that’s why I call this a character win.”
As the top seed in its group, Mighty enters the knockout stage against the fourth seed of the other bracket that’s going to be either an Iraqi or Moroccan club.
The Philippine dribblers, though, had to first earn their fourth straight win, seeing themselves trailing, 76-70, with four minutes and 34 seconds left in the game after a basket by former NBA player Jordan Adams.
But it was Mighty's own Adams who got the last laugh.
Roosevelt scored four straight points then Morris made two free throws to tie game, before Brownlee made Al Wahda pay for leaving him wide open from the top of the key as the resident Ginebra import knocked down the three-pointer that gave Mighty the lead for good and rocked the venue filled with OFWs.
Mighty added five more points to complete the telling 14-0 run that took the fight out of the Syrian side on the way to dealing its opponent its first loss in three games.
Brownlee bucked knee pain and dizziness to still show the way for Mighty with 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, missing a double-double by just one rebound, on top of three assists, and two steals in 28 minutes, while Morris added 19 points, six boards, three assists, two blocks, and one steal.
The Filipino-American Adams continued to display his potential as a two-way wingman, finishing with 21 points, built around four treys, seven rebounds, and two steals, without committing a turnover in 29 minutes off the bench.
Mighty Sports, owned by Alex and Caesar Wongchuking and backed by SMDC, Go For Gold, Oriental Group, and Healthcube, gets another dayoff on Wednesday, the calm before the storm, the knockout stage the day after.
MIGHTY 85 – Brownlee 27, Adams 21, Morris 19, Brickman 7, Gray 6, Gomez de Liaño 5, Odom 0, Santillan 0, Banal 0
AL WAHDA 81 – Adams 22, Abdullah 16, Alhamwi 13, Arbasha 11, Brown 10, Ali 6, Alosh 3, Hamad 0
Quarterscores: 18-23, 41-41, 60-65, 85-81