HEAD coach Charles Tiu was left to rue a game that got away on Sunday night, saying breaks decided Mighty Sports Apparel Philippines' fate at the end of the 2016 Merlion Cup basketball tournament in Singapore.
Mighty Sports Apparel Philippines suffered a heartbreaking 78-77 loss to the Shanghai Sharks in the final as Jimmer Fredette hit three free throws with no time left.
Fredette, a former NBA player, was fouled by Alford Thornton while attempting a three-point shot and made all three gift shots to deny Mighty a second championship to add to its Jones Cup conquest in Taiwan last July.
“We stuck to our game plan and it was working for us. It all boiled down to breaks. The Sharks deserved the win,” Mighty Sports head coach Charles Tiu said.
On Fredette, who finished with 41 points, Tiu added: "They had an NBA-caliber player who took over the game."
Mighty, the country’s representative to a tournament revived after a 20-year hiatus, led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter only to see its lead disappear on Fredette’s hot shooting.
A three-pointer by Shanghai’s Yabusele Gurschon at the 3:49 mark tied the game at 73, but Kiefer Ravena answered with a four-point play to put the Philippine side back on top.
The Sharks cut the lead to two with 36 ticks left and a Mighty Sports turnover with 17 seconds to go gave the Sharks a final shot at the victory, which Fredette took advantage of when he was fouled by Thornton while attempting a three-pointer as the final buzzer sounded.
Meanwhile, the Mighty Sports organization thanked the PBA, Rain or Shine and GlobalPort for their support.
“We thank the PBA, and Messrs. Terry Que and Raymund Yu of Rain or Shine, and Rep. Mikee Romero of GlobalPort for their generosity and understanding in allowing Joseph Yeo of the Batang Pier to play in the 2016 Merlion Cup and the Elasto Painters for allowing Jeric Teng to play in the 2016 William Jones Cup,” Mighty Sports said.
“Their commitment to Philippine basketball helped us bring glory to the country by winning the Jones Cup and finishing second in the Merlion Cup,” the organization added.
Shanghai Sharks 78 - J. Fredette 41, Liu X. 18, Y. Gurschon 11, Zang Z. 6, Cai L. 2, Wu G. 0, Zhai Y. 0, Ge Y. 0.
Mighty Sports 77 - A. Thornton 36, D. Spencer 13, K. Ravena 12, M. Wright 10, H. NDyiaye 4, M. Douthit 2, J. Brickman 0, J. Yeo 0.