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Mighty Sports falls short, misses out on finals berth in Dubai tourney

/ 02:19 PM February 09, 2019
mighty sports juan gomez de liaño


Mighty Sports’ Juan Gomez de Liano tries to score against a Lebanese defender during their match Friday in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Patrick Castillo

Mighty Sports Philippines dropped out of title contention after falling short on its comeback against many-time champion Al Riyadi of Lebanon, 84-89, in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship.

It was Mighty Sports’ first loss of the tournament after entering the knockout semifinals stage with a 5-0 record and it couldn’t have come at a worse moment.

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The loss relegated the Philippine side to the bronze medal game in a rematch against Homenetmen, a team it beat in the elimination round, 96-89.

Mighty Sports may have lost but it went down swinging despite facing a seemingly insurmountable lead in the third quarter.

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“I like the way we fought back,” said coach Charles Tiu said after the game. “You have to appreciate the effort of the guys. Medyo naunahan lang kami sa start, We couldn’t defend their ball screens. Their shooters were hot.”

With Al Riyadi firing on all cylinders, Mighty Sports found itself trailing by as much as 23, 65-42, with 7:35 remaining in the third quarter.

And that’s when Justin Brownlee teamed up with Jeremiah Gray to spark Mighty’s rally.

Brownlee led the team with 24 points while Gray added 17 off the bench. Randolph Morris had 21 points, including two free throws that pulled Mighty Sports within five, 84-89, with 43.7 ticks to go.

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