Mighty Sports-Go for Gold Philippines picked up another dominant win in the 2019 William Jones Cup, schooling Japan’s developmental squad, 94-59, Sunday afternoon at the Changhua Gym in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
Besides the team also backed by HealthCube racking up their third win in as many games in the pocket tournament, Renaldo Balkman also celebrated his 35th birthday in the game.
“It’s a good birthday show for Renaldo and he inspired the rest of us to step up,” said head coach Charles Tiu. “We did not start well but we managed to straighten up things in the second half.”
The Puerto Rican made sure to celebrate it the right way, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, 12 rebounds, two blocks, a steal, and an assist.
The 2018 ABL Defensive Player of the Year made his presence known in the second frame, anchoring Mighty Sports’ suffocating defense that limited Japan to just nine points in the stanza.
Balkman then took charge in the third canto, scoring 13 points to help give Mighty Sports a 69-49 lead to enter the final frame.
His energy did not drop until the very end, providing a highlight-reel breakaway jam with just seven seconds left to the delight of the OFW crowd in attendance.
Besides Balkman, Eugene Phelps also delivered anew, tallying with 19 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and a block.
The Filipino-American backcourt duo of Mikey Williams and Jason Brickman also had stellar outings with the former knocking down three triples (nine in three games) for 17 points while the latter scattered eight points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Japan, who fielded their Team B in preparation for the future of their basketball program, lost its first game in three outings.
Twenty-three year-old Flippin Koh and 18-year-old Haruta Ogawa led Japan B in the scoring department with 10 points each while floor general Shuto Ando had eight points and six assists in the loss.
Mighty Sports-Philippines will next face Canada’s University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Monday, July 15 at 3:00 pm.
Mighty Sports 94 – Balkman 27, Phelps 19, Williams 17, Brickman 8, Moore 8, Adams 6, Black 4, Graham 3, N’Diaye 2, Gray 0, Banal 0, Wongchuking 0.
Japan-B 59 – Koh 10, Ogawa 10, Ando Sh. 8, Schafer 8, Hashimoto 8, Hoshino 6, Ando Se. 4, Williams 4, Toews 1, Hiraiwa 0, Nakamura 0, Harimoto 0.
Quarterscores: 22-17, 38-26, 69-49, 94-59.