Mighty Sports-Philippines fell in a close contest against six-time champions Al Riyadi-Beirut of Lebanon in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship knockout semifinal match, 89-84.
After going undefeated in five outings thus far, Mighty Sports faced their toughest competition yet in Al-Riyadi, the winningest club in Lebanese basketball history and arguably the best team in the competition.
The 14-time Lebanese Basketball League champions flexed their muscle and dominated early in the contest, leading by as much as 23 points at one point, before a huge second half rally by Mighty Sports chipped the lead down to as little as four with a little over eight minutes left in the game.
Al Riyadi then showed the Philippine side their composure and team chemistry as they extended the lead late, and marched towards the finish with a five-point victory. Wael Arakji led the Lebanese club with 23 points and five assists, while import Dominic Johnson added 20 markers.
Justin Brownlee led all scorers with 24 points while adding four rebounds and four dimes. Fellow import Randolph Morris had 21 of his own, and Filipino-American standout Jeremiah Gray chipped in with 17 for Mighty Sports.
The 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup winners advance to the championship game against their compatriots Beirut Basketball Club. Meanwhile, Mighty Sports will try to finish third overall as they face another Lebanese squad Homenetmen Beirut, whom they won against in a close match just a few days ago.
Regardless of the result, Mighty Sports have already achieved the best finish from a Philippine representative, a stark contrast to their lackluster debut stint in 2017 where the team only managed to win one game in seven outings.
Mighty Sports-Philippines will try to win the bronze against Homenetmen at the Dubai International Basketball Championship when they clash tonight at 6PM (10 PM Philippine time), at the Shabab-Al Ahli Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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