Game Thursday (Changhua gym): 3 p.m. – Mighty Sports vs Iran
MIGHTY Sports Apparel-Philippines battles perennial rival Iran on Thursday with coach Charles Tiu looking to start its title campaign on a high note at the Changhua gym in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
While the roster of the five-time champion remains a mystery for both Tiu and Serbian consultant Rajko Toroman, Go For Gold-backed Mighty Sports is not taking any chances in their 3 p.m. showdown.
“We still don’t know which team Iran will be fielding, but I’m sure it’s not their elite team,” said Tiu, who also served as one of the deputies of Gilas Pilipinas Youth that competed in the just-concluded FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Greece.
“Still, we have to play to the best that we can since we want to have a winning start,” said Tiu.
Even the godfathers of the team – Alex Wongchuking of Mighty Sports and Willy Ocier of Go For Gold – are both looking for a great start in their bid to regain the title the team won in its initial attempt three years ago.
“We are representing our country so I told our players, to give their level best each game. That’s one way of entertaining our kababayans out there,” said Wonghuking.
Out to lead Mighty Sports are former San Miguel import Renaldo Balkman, Zach Graham, McKinzie Moore, Eugene Phelps and Fil-Am Jason Brickman.
Also expected to deliver the goods for the team are Jason Gray and Roosevelt Adams, who helped Mighty Sports finish third in the tough Dubai Invitational tournament last February.
Other members of the team are former PBA star Joseph Yeo, MPBL MVP Gab Banal, former Ateneo player Aaron Black and Mikey Williams.
Enjoying the advantage of having seven imports, Mighty Sports posted a whopping average winning margin of 17.4 points three years ago in completing an eight-game sweep of the championship that mirrored the 1981 feat of the Ron Jacobs-mentored Northern Consolidated.
After Iran, Mighty Sports faces powerhouse Jordan on Saturday, Japan on Sunday, Canada on Monday and Korea on Tuesday before taking a two-day break.
“It’s a tight first five days sked for us that’s why we need to have a good start,” said Tiu.