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Strong Group looks to complete a tournament sweep after wrecking Beirut Sports Club, 94-72, in the knockout semifinals of 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship.
But the Philippine club team, bannered by the Dwight Howard-Kevin Quiambao tandem, needs to put together another formidable outing as Strong Group faces unbeaten defending champion Al Riyadi of Lebanon in the winner-take-all title match:
January 28, Sunday, 11:15 pm, Manila time – Strong Group Athletics vs Al Riyadi
A victory will be sweet redemption for Strong Group after a quarterfinal exit last year.
It will also make the team the second Philippine club to rule the tournament after Mighty Sports pulled off the feat in 2020.
Strong Group secured its spot in the final four after outlasting Moroccan squad AS Sale, 92-80, in the knockout quarterfinals of the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship.
January 28, Sunday, 1:15 am, Manila time – Strong Group Athletics vs Beirut Sports Club
Lebanon’s Al Riyadi, another unbeaten squad, battles Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli in the other semifinal match.
The winners will march to the winner-take-all championship showdown the next day.
Strong Group Athletics marched to the knockout round of the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship after completing a 5-0 sweep of the eliminations behind the solid plays of former NBA star Dwight Howard, UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, and former Gilas Pilipinas sniper Jordan Heading.
Here’s the Philippine club team’s quarterfinal schedule:
January 27, Saturday, 1:15 am, Manila time – Strong Group Athletics vs AS Sale
The winner will advance to the knockout semifinal clash the next day.
Other quarterfinal duels pit the Emirates National Team versus the Beirut Club, the Al-Riyadi Club Beirut against Dubai’s Al Nasr Club, and Lebanon’s Homenetmen Club versus Dubai’s Al Wahda Club.
After weeks of high anticipation, former NBA champion and eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard is finally suiting up for the Philippines as part of Strong Group Athletics in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship tipping off on Friday, January 19.
Arguably the most decorated import in Philippine basketball history, the 38-year-old center is joined by fellow former NBA players Andray Blatche, who once suited up as Gilas Pilipinas’ former naturalized player, and defensive ace Andre Roberson, who played seven seasons for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Making up the local Filipino cast of Strong Group is another collection of stars, including reigning UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, MPBL MVP Justine Baltazar, and UAAP champion JD Cagulangan.
Import McKenzie Moore rounds out the roster alongside locals Francis Escandor, Allen Liwag, Justine Sanchez, and Tony Ynot.
Here is the elimination round schedule for the one-week pocket tournament: