MANILA, Philippines – Juan Gomez de Liaño was a man on a mission in Mighty Sports Philippines’ 84-66 blowout win over ES Rades Tunisia in the 31st Dubai International Basketball Championship on Tuesday, January 28.
The collegiate star showed up against the seasoned Tunisians and finished with a tournament-best 12 points, all from a 4-of-5 clip from three-point land.
Not to be outdone, fellow amateur stalwart Thirdy Ravena also had his best game yet in Dubai with 8 markers, 2 assists and 2 steals while playing suffocating defense.
Mighty’s former NBA player duo of Andray Blatche and Renaldo Balkman, meanwhile, delivered 18 markers apiece as the undefeated Philippine team won their third-straight game in the annual event.
The same could not be said for ES Rades as they suffered their first loss in 4 games to end the elimination round.
After bucking a slow start in the first half, Mighty got going with a 9-0 run to start the 3rd period up 11, 50-39, capped by a Ravena long bomb at the 5:39 mark.
The Charles Tiu-coached squad then carried this momentum over to the final frame, where they blew the game wide open for the taking as ES Rades faltered on both ends.
From a 68-64 lead midway through the 4th, Blatche and Balkman took turns dissecting the hapless Tunisian defense as Mighty sealed the deal with a massive 16-2 run for the 84-66 conclusion.
Jelan Kendrick also lent a hand in the offensive showcase of Gomez de Liaño and the NBA duo as he finished with 13 points built on a 3-of-4 shooting from downtown.
Anton Grady, meanwhile, paced ES Rades with a game-high 17 markers plus 8 rebounds in the losing effort.
In a solemn moment before the game, the starters of both teams huddled up near center court after a ceremonial tip-off for a moment of silence in the memory of the late legend Kobe Bryant.
Mighty will wrap up its elimination round in Dubai with a shot at a clean sweep as it takes on Beirut Sports Club on Wednesday, January 29.
Mighty Sports 84 – Blatche 18, Balkman 18, Kendrick 13, Gomez de Liano 12, Ravena 8, Malonzo 4, Williams 3, Go 3.
ES Rades 66 – Grady 17, Qannouni 13, Dayfallah 9, Elahi 7, Tramesh 6, Alshanoufi 5, Okoroh 4, Buallaq 3, Rudsli 2.
Quarters: 19-18, 41-34, 63-54, 84-66.