THE preparation of Mighty Sports for the Dubai International Basketball Championship will be put to another test on Tuesday when it faces PBA Governors’ Cup champion Magnolia in an exhibition match at Ronac gym in San Juan City.
Coach Charles Tiu is looking for more consistency and better cohesion this time as they lock horns with the Hotshots at 9:30 a.m.
Though they beat the Blackwater Elite, 106-99, in a recent tune-up, Tiu, younger brother of former Rain or Shine star guard Chris Tiu, was far from satisfied, saying: “Though a win is a win, we still have a lot of work to do.”
“On a scale of 10, we’re still at level 5,” said the boyish-looking tactician who is also CNN Philippines Sports Desk anchor. “We need to reach 7 or 8 before we leave for Dubai. The tournament there is very tough.”
Backed by Go For Gold, SMDC, Healthcube and Oriental Group, the sports apparel and accessories team is leaving for Dubai on Thursday for the Feb. 1-9 cagefest that lures some of the toughest clubs from Lebanon, Jordan and United Arab Emirates.
Alex Wongchuking, who co-owns the team with younger brother Caesar, is looking forward for a better finish this time after the team blew several opportunities in its first foray in the annual tournament two years ago.
“I’ll be happier if we can reach the semis this time,” said Wongchuking. “That’s our goal and I’m confident coach Charles, coach Jong (Uichico), coach Woody (Co) and coach Dean (Castano) can bring out the best in Lamar (Odom) and the rest of the team.”
Though he was still a shadow of his old deadly self, the 6-foot-10 Odom produced five points in their game against the Elite.
“My legs are dead a little bit but it’s going to be better as time goes by,” said Odom.
Ginebra resident import Justine Brownlee is expected to lead Mighty Sports along with Chinese league veteran Randolp Morris and exciting Fil-Am players Jeremiah Gray and Roosevelt Adams.
Also in the team are former pros TY Tang, Joseph Yeo, Santy Santillan, ex-Ginebra player Jett Manuel, Gab Banal, University of the Philippines playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño, College of St. Benilde’s Justin Gutang and former Xavier star Angelo Wongchuking.