Al Riyadi-Lebanon eliminates Mighty Sports-PH in Dubai tilt

JR Isaga
Mighty Sports-Philippines' blistering run falls short against six-time champion Al Riyadi-Lebanon in the knockout semifinal duel


NEXT BEST THING. Juan Gomez de Liaño (right) and Mighty Sports try to wrap up their campaign with a third-place finish. Photo from Mighty Sports


MANILA, Philippines – Experience trumped talent in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship knockout semifinals as six-time champion Al Riyadi-Lebanon survived Mighty Sports-Philippines, 89-84, on Friday night, February 8 (Saturday morning, February 9, Manila time). 

Justin Brownlee led Mighty’s final rally with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Fellow import Randolph Morris chipped in 21 markers and 8 boards while Fil-Am stud Jeremiah Gray added 17 points off the bench as the Philippine side’s blistering  25-8 run fell short. 

Former Lakers star Lamar Odom had one rebound in 7 minutes of action for Mighty, which got relegated to a battle for 3rd place against Homenetmen Lebanon at 10 pm, Saturday, Manila time.

Al Riyadi advanced to the championship round against Beirut. 

It looked all but over for the Philippine club in the 3rd quarter after Al Riyadi shot out to a 24-point lead, 66-42, with 7:38 remaining.

However, Mighty woke up from its slumber and responded with a massive 25-8 run to trim the deficit to 7 points, 67-74, after a Gray layup at the 46-second mark. 

Mighty even got it all the way down to 4, 72-76, after a Morris lay-in at the 7:52 mark of the payoff period.

But the seasoned Al Riyadi squad managed to keep enough distance down the stretch and sealed the deal with a Chris Obekpa jumper in the last 63 ticks of regulation. 

Wael Arakji outperformed his team’s import with a 23-point performance on a 10-of-16 (62%) shooting off the bench. Dominic Johnson was no slouch either with 20 markers and 6 assists while Obekpa chipped in all 7 of his markers in the clutch on a perfect 3-of-3 clip.

The Scores

Al Riyadi 89 – Arakji 23, Johnson 20, Saoud 12, Abdelnour 10, Abdelmoneim 9,  Gyokchyan 8, Obekpa 7, Bowjee 0, Khatib 0. 

Mighty Sports 84 – Brownlee 24, Morris 21, Gray 17, De Liano 8, Brickman 8, Adams 4, Santillan 2, Odom 0, Banal 0.

Quarters: 26-20, 54-40, 76-67, 89-84.