Strong Group-PH falls to Lebanon side for first loss in Dubai | Inquirer Sports

Strong Group-PH falls to Lebanon side for first loss in Dubai

/ 03:05 PM February 02, 2023

Shabazz Muhammad

FILE – Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives against David Nwaba #11 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 23, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Strong Group-Philippines absorbed its first defeat at the hands of Dynamo Lebanon, 89-83, on Wednesday to end up in second place ahead of the playoff round of the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship at Al-Nasr Club Hall.

The Philippine team couldn’t stop Dynamo import Cleanthony Early., who erupted for 29 points, including a clutch three-pointer with 48.3 seconds left that gave his team an 86-81 cushion.

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Early capped off Lebanon’s 11-2 run with a free throw to end the match and led Dynamo to a Group A sweep. They will face Sale-Morocco in the playoff round, where eight of the nine invited teams advanced.

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Zachary Lofton and Thomas Ibrahima also showed out for the Lebanese with 17 and 16 points, respectively.

Shabazz Muhammad, the former NBA veteran and ex-PBA import, powered Strong Group (3-1) anew with 25 points and nine rebounds. Strong Group faces Group B No. 3 Al Riyadi (1-2) in the knockout quarterfinals.

“Tough loss for our Strong Group Team vs Dynamo Lebanon (top team there right now). Led for 60% of the game but fell short in the last few minutes. Their zone really stifled us and slowed us down,” coach Charles Tiu wrote on Twitter after the game.

Adamson star Jerom Lastimosa unleashed his best game of the tournament so far with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Nick Young, who missed the previous match, returned with 11 points in 13 minutes of playing time, while Renaldo Balkman was limited to 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Scores:

Dynamo Lebanon 89 – Early 29, Lofton 17, Ibrahima 16, Ezzeddine 10, Khalil 9, Ibrahim 7, Khoury 1, Salibi 0, Mahmoud 0.

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Strong Group 83 – Muhammad 25, Lastimosa 14, Young 11, Balkman 10, Barefield 9, Andrade 4, Baltazar 4, Quiambao 4, Cagulangan 2, Gozum 0, Fornilos 0.

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Quarters: 19-17, 41-45, 65-68, 89-83.

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