Shabazz Muhammad fuels Strong Group-PH to another win in Dubai
MANILA, Philippines – Former NBA player Shabazz Muhammad continued to power the Strong Group Philippines as he poured in 26 points to torch Al Nasr of Libya, 93-76, in the 32nd Dubai Basketball Championship on Sunday (Manila time).
The ex-San Miguel Beermen import had an efficient 9-of-14 shooting night, providing the spark off the bench with just 22 minutes of play to lead Strong Group’s wire-to-wire victory and earn a 2-0 record in the tournament.
Muhammad also shone in Strong Group’s debut with 24 points in their 91-87 conquest over the UAE national team on Saturday (Manila time).
The Charles Tiu-coached Strong Group eyes its third win against the winless Syrian team, Al Wahda (0-2), on Sunday at 11 p.m. (Manila time).
Renaldo Balkman also dominated with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and tallied nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals, as fellow ex-NBA player Nick Young only made one out of his seven shots with three points in 22 minutes.
Filipino-American Sedrick Barefield was the top local with 14 points. Korean Basketball League-bound Justine Baltazar was also instrumental with 10 points, while BJ Andrade and Kevin Quiambao chipped in nine markers each.
Strong Group dominated Al Nasr right from the get-go with a blazing 24-6 start to open the game. However, the Libyan team gained momentum in the third quarter, cutting down the lead to 66-57.
But the Philippine squad was quick to get its act together, unleashing a 17-1 run to build a 25-point lead for an 83-58 advantage in the final period before Quiambao’s three-pointer tallied the biggest lead, 26 points, 88-62, to put away the game with 5:49 remaining.
Al Nasr slid to a 1-1 record, leaning on Donte Lamnot’s 22-point effort. Michael Babatond and Mamadou Mbaye had 14 and 11 markers, respectively.
Strong Group PH 93 – Muhammad 26, Balkman 18, Barefield 14, Baltazar 10, Andrade 9, Quiambao 9, Young 3, Lastimosa 3, Lao 1, Gozum 0, Fornilos 0, Cagulangan 0.
Al Nasr Libya 76 – Lamnot 22, Babatond 14, Mbaye 11, Ihmaydah 10, Buzgaiya 9, Mohammed 4, Mohamed 2, Ramadan 2, Aljali 2, Omar 0, Algharabi 0, Alrashedi 0.
Quarters: 37-21, 56-46, 81-58, 93-76.