Asian basketball

Nick Young sparks early Strong Group run; PH denies UAE rally for 1st Dubai win

JR Isaga

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Nick Young sparks early Strong Group run; PH denies UAE rally for 1st Dubai win

SPARKPLUG. Strong Group import Nick Young high-fives Shabazz Muhammad at the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship

Dubai Sports screenshot

Former NBA player Nick Young provides an early offensive spark as Strong Group Philippines holds on for its first Dubai tournament win, denying the Omar Alshabebi-led UAE national team a late comeback

MANILA, Philippines – The Strong Group Realty Philippine team denied a late rally by the UAE national team and hung on for a 91-87 squeaker to kick off the 32nd Dubai Basketball Championship on Friday, January 27 (Saturday, January 28, Manila time).

Just like his heyday in the NBA, former LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors guard Nick Young provided an early scoring spark with a personal 11-2 scoring run that shifted a 19-27 first-quarter deficit to a 34-32 lead for Strong Group. The 34-year-old veteran settled for a 13-point line in 17 minutes off the bench.

The performance of the night, however, belonged to Fil-Am gunner Sedrick Barefield, who erupted for 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in just 21 minutes, while former PBA import and NBA player Shabazz Muhammad topscored with 24 for the Philippine side.

Sparked by Young’s early eruption, Strong Group peaked with a 70-50 lead off a BJ Andrade corner three with 4:01 left in the third quarter, and managed to keep a 16-point lead, 90-74, with 3:11 left in regulation.

Seemingly out of nowhere, however, UAE captain Omar Alshabebi pulled out a personal 13-0 barrage out of his bag that put the hosts within striking distance, 87-90, with just 14.4 ticks left on the clock.

Forced into a timeout, Strong Group then got the ball to Barefield, who split his charities for the two-possession lead, 91-87, with 10.5 seconds left. Alshabebi then missed a pull-up three with 5.5 ticks left, followed by an airballed Mohamed Alhashmi downtown heave as time expired.

Alshabebi led all scorers in the heartbreaking loss with a spirited 33-point performance on 14-of-28 shooting, while Julius Coles, Jr. came at a distant second with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in 24 minutes.

Strong Group will aim for a better outing on Sunday, January 29, 1 am (Manila time) as it next faces Al Nasr Libya.

The Scores

Strong Group PH 91 – Muhammad 24, Barefield 23, Young 13, Lastimosa 6, Andrade 5, Gozum 4, Baltazar 2, Quiambao 2, Oczon 0, Cagulangan 0, Lopez 0.

UAE 87 – Alshabebi 33, Coles 15, Abdullateef 13, Ndiaye 10, Alameeri 7, Hussein 5, Alhashmi 4, A. Albreiki 0, Ayman 0, M. Albreiki 0, Al Nuaimi 0, Alsawan 0.

Quarters: 19-27, 52-41, 74-58, 91-87.


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