Mighty-Pilipinas' fightback falls short in Dubai semis
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 09, 2019 09:30 AM
(Photo courtesy of Mighty Sports-Pilipinas)
Mighty Sports-Pilipinas will have to settle for a semifinals finish in the 2019 Dubai International Basketball Tournament – but that doesn’t mean their campaign was a failure.
Battling back from 23 points down, the Filipinos displayed that famed “puso” before running out of gas and surrendering an 84-89 decision to Lebanese powerhouse Al Riyadi on Saturday (Philippine time) at the Shabab-Al Ahli Club in Dubai.
This was the same result as the last time the two teams met. Lebanon topped the Philippines, 100-95, two years ago.
Unlike last time, though, Mighty-Pilipinas didn’t give up in this one and was actually still in the game with 31 ticks to go courtesy of four free throws from American reinforcement Randolph Morris and Filipino-American Roosevelt Adams.
Unfortunately for them, Christopher Obekpa had the quick counter for Al Riyadi and his midrange jumper kept them at bay once and for all.
Nonetheless, the semifinals finish, and the five wins in as many games prior to this one, remains a big leap compared to the Filipinos’ 2017 campaign when they only won once as well as their 2018 campaign when they went winless.
As always, Justin Brownlee showed the way in this one with 24 points, four rebounds, and four assists while Morris had 21 markers, eight boards, and two blocks of his own.
Fil-Am high-flyer Jeremiah Gray chipped in 17 markers while Adams wound up with four markers to his name.
The tournament isn’t over just yet for the Philippines as they will meet Homentmen in a battle for third on Saturday (Philippine time).
Mighty-Pilipinas had gotten the better of the Lebanese champions back in the elimination round.
AL RIYADI-LEBANON 89 – Arakji 23, Johnson 20, Saoud 12, Abdelnour 10, Abdelmoneim 9, Gyokchyan 8, Obekpa 7, Bowjee 0, Khatib 0.
MIGHTY SPORTS-PILIPINAS 84 – Brownlee 24, Morris 21, Gray 17, De Liano 8, Brickman 8, Adams 4, Santillan 2, Odom 0, Banal 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 26-20, 54-40, 76-67, 89-84.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.