Tiu credits chemistry for Mighty success in Dubai
Winning the Dubai International Championships basketball tournament to become the first non-Middle Eastern squad to pull off the feat sure was a big reason to celebrate. And coach Charles Tiu believes the team achieved its goal because of cohesion.
“This team came together. We did not look so good in our first few practices. But we got better every day in that tournament,” he told sportswriters during the team’s homecoming at a restaurant in Makati on Thursday.
Indeed, Mighty Sports made its tentative first game a distant memory, posting a convincing win after another as the tournament plodded along.
They were undoubtedly the sharpest during the final dance with Al Riyadi, a team that denied them a chance at the crown last year. In their rematch, Mighty Sports was simply unforgiving on both ends of the court, resulting in a 92-81 victory and a sweep of the tournament.
It was quite the feat for a team that was hastily assembled, and one that was flaunting a mix of international, and pro and amateur Philippine talents.
“I thought that the players did a great job—Andray Blatche and Renaldo Balkman showed us why they were NBA players,” he said. “They were just a cut above the rest.”
“You’d hear a lot of different things about Andray—some positive, some negative—but he is a good guy. No attitude. He is very professional. Never late, never absent. And it just rubbed off on all the people,” said the young tactician.
“Balkman, I had the chance to work with him in the Jones Cup. Again, before getting him for that tournament, I was very apprehensive, very worried about his history, but after that, I was like wow! This guy is just really a pro,” he added.
Tiu said that pretty much set the tone for the squad that included a few of the Philippines’ top amateurs like Thirdy Ravena, Jamie Malonzo, Isaac Go, Juan Gomez de Liaño, and Dave Ildefonso among others.