Game Wednesday (Shabab Al Ahli Club, Dubai): 11 p.m. – America Univ. vs Mighty Sports
ARMED with new-found confidence, Mighty Sports leaves on Thursday for Dubai determined to do well in the tough 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship at the Sbabab Al Ahli Club.
The 10-club tournament opens the following day (Friday) with coach Chris Tiu and team owner Alex Wongchuking hoping the additions of former LA Lakers Lamar Odom and Chinese league veteran Randolph Morris and the presence of exciting Fil-Am players like Jason Brickman and Roosevelt Adam will help the team get off to a winning start.
The goal, of course, was to exorcise the ghost of a forgettable debut in this tournament two years ago when Mighty, backstopped then by 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet and Justin Brownlee, could only produce one win in seven games after bungling three winning opportunities.
“Though our team is still a work in progress, we will go to Dubai with a mission of slaying the ghost of 2017,” said Wongchuking. “It’s a tough mission but I am confident they will do their best to give honor to our country.”
Having experienced the level of play in the annual tournament considered as one of region’s prestigious events, Brownlee is hoping his second tour of duty will yield good results.
“We’ll do our best to win the championship,” said the charismatic import of Ginebra in the PBA.
Though Odom is still struggling to get his rhythm back, Tiu remained hopeful the 6-foot-10 NBA veteran can still help the team – backed by SMDC, Go For Gold, Healthcube and Oriental group – in so many ways.
Beefing up the team are American Randolph Morris who is a veteran in the Chinese league.
“The team is improving and even the locals are doing OK,” said Tiu after the team’s pulsating 98-97 win over Magnolia in Tuesday’s tune-up game.
Tiu was referring to crafty UP guard Juan Gomez de Lianno who sizzled for 16 points.
Brickman is the same player who helped Mighty Sports win the Jones Cup title three years ago via an 8-game sweep.
“He will play a big role in the team and he’s going to be the stabilizer. He can drop long bombs at any given time,” said assistant team manager Edrick Ferrer.
Also in the team are former pros Joseph Yeo and Jett Manuel, Gab Banal, College of St. Benilde’s Justin Gutang, Santy Santillan and Angelo Wongchuking.
Xavier star Woody Co, Ateneo’s Dean Castano and multi-titled Jong Uichico are going to assist Tiu on the bench.