DUBAI – Mighty Sports showed how mighty it can be, dealing American University in Dubai an 87-58 beating to jumpstart its Dubai International Championship campaign on Friday night at the Shabab-Al Ahli Club.
Ranged against a young team of college players and a few reinforcements, the Philippine representative flexed its muscles in an utter mismatch on the way to moving on the verge of a quarterfinal berth and gaining a huge confidence boost ahead of the quality opposition.
“It’s a good game, but I don’t think this is the real competition,” Mighty coach Charles Tiu admitted. “This is probably the weakest team in the whole tournament naman eh.”
Justin Brownlee didn’t even have to start, yet the PBA import still showed the way with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including three triples, on top of six boards, one assist, one steal, and one block in just a little over 18 minutes off the bench.
Everyone came to see Lamar Odom, who contributed just four points after missing eight of his 10 shots, but the two-time NBA champion showed the other facets of his game, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out two assists, and one steal in a team-high 27 minutes
One defensive rebound led to a crosscourt pass to Brownlee, who finished with a breakaway slam that prompted chants of “Ginebra! Ginebra!” from the OFWs in the crowd of an estimate of 2,000 people.
Filipino-American Jeremiah Gray flashed his athleticism, finishing with 15 points while also making all but two of his nine shots like Brownlee, along with one board and one assist in 13 ultra-efficient minutes as a starter.
Randolph Morris anchored the middle – and even showed his passing ability – as the Chinese league veteran tallied 14 points, six rebounds, and a game-high four assists, alongside one block in 21 minutes, while the recently retired Jett Manuel proved he’s still PBA material as he was the fourth Mighty player in double-figure scoring with 12 markers, built by two triples, along with two boards,
AUD scored the game’s first basket, but it was all Mighty from there as Philippine team raced to a huge lead that ballooned to 35 points, 60-25, midway through the third quarter.
The result already matched the win total in the forgettable debut stint two years ago by the squad owned by businessmen Alex and Caesar Wongchuking, and backed by SMDC, Go For Gold, Oriental Group, and Healthcube.
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, Brickman 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
Quarterscores: 23-9, 47-20, 68-37, 87-58