Mighty Sports fends off Fadi El-Khatib, UAE in Dubai opener
Mighty Sports survived Fadi El Khatib and United Arab Emirates for an 88-82 win in the Dubai International Basketball Championship Thursday at Shabab Al Ahli Club.
The Philippine representatives leaned on Fil-American guard Mike Williams down the stretch to fend off the hosts and El Khatib, who is playing as an import for UAE, in the opener of the 11-team tournament.
Wiliams, who finished with 15 points, drained a crucial three then set up Renaldo Balkman for a jam to push Mighty Sports’ lead to 84-78 with 74 seconds to go.
He also sank two more free throws after UAE pulled within 84-82. Thirdy Ravena sealed the win with a layup off a defensive stop.
Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu, though, admitted that his team’s performance in their first assignment left a lot to be desired.
“I have to be a bit more patient because this is technically our first game together. But give credit to UAE, they played well, got to the free throw line a lot and El-Khatib is still a great player at his age,” said Tiu.
“Mikey was also great. As I said I have complete trust in him.”
Import Jelan Kendrick led Mighty Sports with 19 points while former Gilas player Andray Blatche and Balkman added 15 points each while grabbing 11 and nine rebounds, respectively.
Mighty is set to face Al Ittihad of Lebanon on Friday night.
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