Juan Gomez de Liaño and Thirdy Ravena sparked Mighty Sports’ 84-66 rout of Tunisia’s Es Rades in the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Championship, Tuesday morning (Manila time) at Shabab Al Ahli Club.
Gomez de Liaño shot lights-out in the contest, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown. On the other hand, Ravena scattered eight points, two assists, and two rebounds.
And with the two clicking, Mighty Sports raced to a 9-0 spurt to start the third frame. It gained a 50-39 edge then never looked back.
The duo of Andray Blatche and Renaldo Balkman then took care of business in the final frame for the squad backed by Creative Pacific of Bong Cuevas, Go for Gold, Discovery Primea, Oriental Group, and Gatorade.
With Mighty Sports holding a 68-64 edge, the two led a 16-2 endgame spurt to hand the Tunisians their first loss in four games.
Both Blatche and Balkman had 18 markers each to lead the way for the 3-0 Mighty Sports.
Jelan Kendrick added 13 points, spiked by three triples.
Clearly, the team had extra motivation in this game after learning of the passing of Kobe Bryant early in the day. Head coach Charles Tiu wanted his squad to play inspired basketball all throughout as their tribute to the icon.
“I don’t know about that, but everybody here is very emotional and sad about his passing. We paid tribute and offered this game up for him,” said Tiu.
Anton Grady led Es Rades with 17 points and eight boards.
Mighty Sports can sweep the group stages and earn top seed in the semis when it faces Beirut Sports Club on Wednesday at 1:00 am (Manila time).
Mighty Sports 84 – Blatche 18, Balkman 18, Kendrick 13, Gomez de Liano 12, Ravena 8, Malonzo 4, Williams 3, Go 3.
ES Rades 66 – Grady 17, Qannouni 13, Dayfallah 9, Elahi 7, Tramesh 6, Alshanoufi 5, Okoroh 4, Buallaq 3, Rudsli 2.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 41-34, 63-54, 84-66.