Mighty goes all the way in Dubai
Unflinching in the first half and unforgiving in the second, Mighty Sports toppled Al Riyadi off its lofty perch, with a 92-81 on Sunday morning win making the imports-reinforced Philippine ball club the first non-Middle Eastern squad to win the Dubai International Basketball Championship.
Renaldo Balkman and Andray Blatche again spearheaded Mighty, scoring 25 and 21 points, respectively, in the win that avenged last year’s semifinal loss against the same Lebanese side.“Andray and Renaldo were great,” said coach Charles Tiu. “They led this team. They were true professionals.”
Balkman, the Puerto Rican dynamo, was a steady force on both ends throughout the tournament. The World Cup veteran led a third-quarter run that pretty much gave Mighty the momentum it needed before being crowned tournament MVP after averages of 19.3 points and 7.3 boards.
Blatche, who also had 10 rebounds and four assists, came up with big shots and feeds in the payoff period, paving the way for Mikey Moore and Thirdy Ravena’s finishing touches.“Their work started as early as December when they were both signed,” Tiu said of Balkman and Blatche, both former NBA talents.
“They already started working out in Atlanta and then it carried over here.”
Michael Efevberha fired 26 points and Dwayne Jackson 20 for Al Riyadi. INQ