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Mighty Sports finishes 3rd in Dubai tourney

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MANILA — Mighty Sports capped its stint in the Dubai International Basketball Championship on a high note after mauling Homenetmen, 92-76, in the battle for third at the Shabab Al-Ahli Club in Dubai on Saturday night.

In a far cry from the first time they met, Mighty Sports torched Homenetmen early on en route to the blowout win.

Jett Manuel, who only had six points all tournament-long prior to the bronze medal game, scorched for eight points in just the first quarter as he helped Mighty Sports take a 23-21 lead at the end of the period.

Santi Santillan then went on to work in the second quarter, scoring six points to bring the lead up to eight.

Jerar Hadidan kept Homenetmen at striking distance, but a buzzer-beating triple from Juan Gomez De Liaño kept Mighty Sports’ lead at eight, 42-34, entering halftime.

Mighty Sports then began pulling away in the third quarter as Justin Brownlee and Jeremiah Gray led the team to open a 13-point lead, 67-54.

Not helping Homenetmen’s cause was the technical fouls slapped on Elias Rustom and the entire coaching staff, leading to free throws from Lamar Odom that sparked his own great run in the game.

Odom capped what would be his best performance in the tournament with a booming triple with 2:53 remaining in the game with the rout all but a formality.

Manuel finished with 19 points on 80 percent shooting for Mighty Sports.

Randolph Morris added 11 markers and six boards, while Brownlee came up with 10 points, six dimes, four caroms, and two steals.

Odom finished with eight points, five rebounds, and one block.

The victory was an icing on the cake for the best finish by a Filipino team in the Dubai International Basketball Championship as well as the over-achievement of Mighty Sports from its lowly 2017 stint.

“I’m very satisfied with the result because we’re going home with a medal,” co-owner Alex Wongchuking said.

“This third place finish is already a big accomplishment,” added brother Ceasar, the other co-owner of the club.

Hadidan came up with 23 points, eight rebounds, and two steals, while Rustom made 20 markers and eight boards for Homenetmen, which missed out on the podium finish.

Walter Muñoz, which erupted for 42 points in their first meeting, sat out the entire game. (PNA)