Virtual champ: Mighty bags Jones Cup title with Taipei rout
MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in 3 years, Mighty Sports-Go for Gold is once again the William Jones Cup champion after handing hosts Chinese Taipei Blue a 97-74 beating at the Xinzhuang Gym in New Taipei City on Saturday, July 20.
With their seventh straight win now in the bag, the Charles Tiu-coached squad can go no lower than a 7-1 record in this win-based tournament, while closest competitor South Korea can only tie the Philippine bets with the same slate.
But since Mighty survived Korea, 89-82, in their highly anticipated showdown last Tuesday, July 16, the Philippines now holds the title tiebreaker if ever the Koreans beat Chinese Taipei Blue in the final match of the annual event this Sunday, July 21.
Renaldo Balkman and Eugene Phelps led the charge anew with 21 and 17 points, respectively. Fil-Am forward Roosevelt Adams also came to play and finished with 13 markers with 3 rebounds and 2 assists while fellow Fil-Ams Jeremiah Gray and Mikey Williams added 8 points apiece.
After a back-and-forth affair for the first 15 minutes, Taipei Blue was still within striking distance just down 4, 36-40. However, off the much-needed timeout, the star tandem of Balkman and Phelps turned up the heat and sparked a massive 20-1 run en route to a 50-32 lead at the half.
Mighty would hit minor speed bumps in the 3rd, however, as they lost two imports just two minutes apart. With 3:06 left in the frame, McKenzie Moore fouled out off a charge call and got tossed right after due to an additional technical foul. Two minutes later, Balkman joined Moore in the locker room after getting bloodied off an inadvertent elbow and did not return.
Still, Mighty led 72-49 after 3 quarters and never looked back. Phelps led a 7-0 run and ended it with a highlight-worthy windmill dunk at the 4:41 mark for the 26-point lead, 83-57.
From there, both teams just traded buckets as the Philippines coasted to its sixth championship overall in the tournament.
Ying-Chun Chen led Chinese Taipei Blue with 19 points as his team bows out of title contention with a 5-2 record.
Mighty Sports still has a chance to sweeten its title win by finishing undefeated at 8-0 on Sunday, July 21, against Chinese Taipei White.
Mighty Sports 97 – Balkman 21, Phelps 17, Adams 13, Moore 10, Gray 8, Moore 8, Yeo 6, Graham 4, Black 3, Banal 3, Brickman 2, N’Diaye 2.
Chinese Taipei Blue 74 – Chen 19, Lee, C. 13, Florveus 8, Hu 7, Chou, Y. 7, Lin 6, Chou, P. 5, Liu 4, Kuo 3, Wen 2, Lee, W. 0, Su 0.
Quarters: 24-14, 50-32, 72-49, 97-74.