Flawless Mighty Sports crushes Syria’s Al Wathba to reach Dubai semis

Delfin Dioquino
Flawless Mighty Sports crushes Syria’s Al Wathba to reach Dubai semis
Mighty Sports gets a balanced scoring production from its veterans and young guns to remain unbeaten in the Dubai International Basketball Championship

MANILA, Philippines – Mighty Sports punched its ticket to the semifinals of the 31st Dubai International Basketball Championship with an 88-71 romp of Al Wathba Sports Club on Thursday, January 30 (Friday, January 31, Philippine time).

The Philippine team proved too much for the Syrian squad with 6 players breaching double figures in scoring as it remain undefeated at the Shabab Al Ahli Club with its fifth consecutive victory. 

McKenzie Moore led the attack with 15 points on a blistering 7-of-8 clip from the field off the bench for Mighty Sports, which will face Association Sportive De Sale of Morocco on Friday at 11 pm. 

Former NBA veterans Renaldo Balkman and Andray Blatche submitted their usual numbers for Mighty Sports with 13 and 12 points, respectively, and conjoined for 16 rebounds in the dominant win. 

The Philippines’ young guns also rose to the occasion as Dave Ildefonso and Javi Gomez de Liaño buried two timely three-pointers in the final two minutes that essentially secured the win for their side.

Al Wathba still showed signs of life midway through the last quarter when it narrowed the gap to 66-80 before Ildefonso and Javi Gomez de Liaño made it rain from deep for a comfortable 88-66 cushion. 

Jamie Malonzo finished with 11 points in style with back-to-back two-handed dunks in the payoff period, while Thirdy Ravena and Juan Gomez de Liaño chipped in 10 points apiece. 

Chris Daniels, who served as import for Alaska last season in the PBA, put Al Wathba on his back with 36 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals, but only had two teammates scoring in twin digits. 

The Scores

Mighty Sports 88 – Moore 15, Balkman 13, Blatche 12, Malonzo 11, Ravena 10, Juan Gomez De Liaño 10, Go 5, Kendrick 4, Ildefonso 3, Javi Gomez de Liaño 3, Williams 2, Belga 0. 

Al Wathba 71 – Daniels 36, Alhusain 11, Alsati 10, Shaban 5, Correa 5, Couisnard 4, Altarakji 0, El-Ayoubi 0. 

Quarters: 22-16, 44-31, 65-50, 88-71.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.