Dwight Howard, Andray Blatche power Strong Group to 3-0 start

Dwight Howard, Andray Blatche power Strong Group to 3-0 start

/ 11:24 AM January 22, 2024

Dwight Howard Strong Group Dubai

Dwight Howard played his best game yet for Strong Group in the Dubai International Basketball Championship.–Photo from UAE Basketball Association

MANILA, Philippines — Strong Group Athletics (SGA) leaned on Dwight Howard and the heroics of Andray Blatche late to stave off Homenetmen-Lebanon, 104-95, and stay unbeaten in three games in the Dubai International Basketball Championship on early Monday morning (Manila time) at Al Nasr Club.

Playing its third game in a row following back-to-back blowout wins, the Philippine side hurdled its first test as Homenetmen held a precarious 77-76 lead with 7:07 left in the game before Blatche caught fire, hitting four of his six triples to spark a 16-5 run for a a 92-83 lead with 3:23 remaining.

Blatche, the former Gilas naturalized player, finished with 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists coming off the bench, while ex-NBA star Howard played his best game in the tournament so far with 32 points on 12-of-13 shooting and had seven rebounds, and five blocks.

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Kevin Quiambao, who exploded for 24 points against the Syrian club late Saturday, put on the finishing touches in SGA’s third win with a booming triple and a slam to end the game with 19 points including three treys on top of four rebounds and four assists.

Andre Roberson was also instrumental with 13 points and eight rebounds, while McKenzie Moore added 12 points in SGA’s bid to surpass its quarterfinal exit last year.

The Philippine club overcame Zach Lofton’s 37-point outing. The former NBA player, who also had a brief stint with the Meralco Bolts in the PBA, also had eight rebounds and seven assists.

Gerard Hadidan also lifted the Lebanese with 21 points and seven rebounds, while Elijah Holman and Dewayne Jackson added 18 and 16 points, respectively.

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Strong Group, which holds a 3-0 record, will have a short breather on Tuesday before its next game against another team from Lebanon, Beirut Sports Club, on Wednesday at 1:15 a.m. (Manila time).

The Scores:

Strong Group (104) – Howard 32, Quiambao 19, Blatche 18, Roberson 13, Moore 12, Baltazar 8, Heading 2, Sanchez 0, Cagulangan 0, Escandor 0.

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Homenetmen (95) – Lofton 37, Hadidan 21, Holman 18, Jackson 16, Khalil 2, Salem 1, Akiki 0, Ajemian 0, Chivichyan 0.

Quarterscores: 17-24, 42-48, 71-67, 104-95.

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TAGS: Andray Blatche, Dubai International Basketball Championship, Dwight Howard, Strong Group

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