Strong Group loses Dubai title game on buzzer-beater

Strong Group loses Dubai title game on buzzer-beater

/ 09:59 AM January 29, 2024

Al Riyadi vs Strong Group Dubai International Basketball

Al Riyadi celebrates after beating Strong Group Athletics on a buzzer-beater by Ismail Ahmed Abdelmonei to win the title in the Dubai International Basketball. Photo from UAE Basketball Association

MANILA, Philippines — Strong Group Athletics (SGA) absorbed a heartbreaking 77-74 loss to Al Riyadi of Lebanon in the Dubai International Basketball Championship final on Monday morning (Manila time) at Al Nasr Club.

Strong Group battled back from 17 points down but only to lose on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by 47-year-old Ismail Ahmed Abdelmonei.


It was the only loss by the Philippine side, which was tipped to sweep the competition with former NBA veterans Dwight Howard, Andre Roberson and Andray Blatche in tow.


Roberson, the ex-Oklahoma City defensive specialist, powered SGA with 24 points and 13 rebounds but missed a potential go-ahead basket with 11 seconds left. Howard, the eight-time NBA All-Star, also notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Andre Roberson Strong Group vs Al Riyadi Dubai

Andre Roberson.–Photo from UAE Basketball Association

Fil-Australian guard Jordan Heading also played a vital role in the second-half surge for SGA with 17 points, including a triple that knotted the count at 74.

American guard McKenzie Moore chipped in 12 points off the bench but injured his right leg midway through the fourth quarter.

Key cogs Andray Blatche and Kevin Quiambao struggled. Blatche scored just three points while Quiambao was scoreless after missing all of his five shots from the field.

Former PBA import Manny Harris led the Lebanese side with 23 points and seven rebounds while national team mainstay Wael Arakji finished with 16 points, scoring 14 at the half. Abdelmoneim, a 30-year pro, finished with 10 points highlighted by the championship-clinching shot that led to a wild celebration inside the court and silenced the Filipino faithful in Dubai.

Down 59-42, Roberson and Heading conspired in a 23-2 run to put SGA in the driver’s seat, 65-61, early in the fourth quarter. However, the Lebanese regained the momentum, 72-67, after Amir Saoud’s triple in the final three minutes.


SGA swept the five-game group stage before beating AS Sale of Morocco in the quarterfinal and Beirut Sports Club in the semifinal.

The Philippine side surpassed its previous Dubai stint last year when the squad, led by Renaldo Balkman, Nick Young, and Shabazz Muhammad, got eliminated in the quarterfinal. But SGA couldn’t bring home the crown, which was won by Mighty Sports in 2020.

The Scores:

Al Riyadi (77) – Harris 23, Arakji 16, Abdelmoneim 10, Kikanovic 7, Zeinoun 6, Gyokchyan 5, Sakakini 5, Saoud 3, Tabbara 0.

Strong Group Athletics (74) – Roberson 24, Howard 18, Heading 17, Moore 12, Blatche 3, Quiambao 0, Baltazar 0, Cagulangan 0, Escandor 0.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Quarterscores: 22-12, 46-32, 61-57, 77-74.

TAGS: Al Riyadi, Dubai International Basketball Championship, Strong Group Athletics

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.