DUBAI – Mighty Sports made sure it got the next best thing after missing out on the title game, rolling to a 91-76 victory over Homenetmen on Saturday night at the Shabab Al Ahli Club to salvage third place in the Dubai International Basketball Championship.
Coming off a heartbreaking five-point loss to fancied Al Riyadi in the knockout semifinal match, the Philippine dribblers vented their ire on the Lebanese league defending champion, building an early lead then pulling away in the second half.
Jett Manuel saved his best for last in what he says was his farewell game as he fired a team-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting – including a perfect 7-of-7 from inside the arc, on top of two rebounds, and one assist in just 19 minutes as a starter to lead the balanced attack.
Randolph Morris added 11 points and six rebounds, while Justin Brownlee and Roosevelt Adams chipped in 10 markers apiece for the Philippine squad owned by Alex and Caesar Wongchuking and backed by SMDC, Go For Gold, Oriental Group, and Healthcube.
“Overall, the stint was a successful campaign naman,” Mighty coach Charles Tiu said after the game. “Although the fact that we were already so close, sayang lang talaga.”
Despite falling short of stepping foot on the finale, Mighty can still hold its head high, having finished with six wins in seven games after producing only one win against six losses in its last appearance two years ago.
Playing more relaxed in the battle for third, Mighty traded baskets with Homenetmen yet still came out of the opening period with a two-point lead that grew to eight points at the half then snowballed to as many as 22 points, 77-55 early in the payoff period where Brownlee didn’t even have to play.
With his team enjoying a sizeable lead, Lamar Odom looked for his shot, scoring from the charity stripe thrice, on a layup before capping his performance with a triple that sent the crowd of OFWs roaring.
Mighty took advantage of the absence of Homenetmen star Walter Hodge, who was just in street clothes after torching the Philippine team with 42 points in a losing effort in the group stage.
MIGHTY SPORTS 91 – Manuel 19, Morris 11, Brownlee 10, Adams 10, Odom 8, De Liano 7, Gray 7, Santillan 6, Rike 6, Gutang 4, Banal 3, Brickman 0.
HOMENETMEN 76 – Hadidan 23, Rustom 20, Estafan 10, Zeinoun 5, Aboud 4, Kilijian 4, Bedikan 3, Ziada 2, Ketenjian 0, Jeyan 0. Quarterscores: 23-21, 42-34, 67-54, 91-76.