They may have showed that they are able to keep up with the Middle East’s best, but it was just not enough for Mighty Sports.
Their inability to stop the hot shooting of Al Riyadi early was the downfall for Mighty Sports Philippines. They absorbed an 84-89 loss to the Lebanese-side to fall to the third place game, Saturday morning (Manila time) at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai.
With the loss, Mighty Sports will figure in a rematch against Homenetmen on Saturday. The Philippine-based club team defeated the defending Lebanon Basketball League champions five days ago, 89-96.
Al Riyadi – a squad that defeated Mighty Sports two years ago by the same margin 100-95 – torched the Charles Tiu-mentored squad early in the contest. By the half, Al Riyadi had already drained eight triples to lead by 14. Their advantage grew to 24 points, 66-42, with 7:38 left in the third.
But the duo of Justin Brownlee and Jeremiah Gray would not let Mighty Sports go down easy. The two combined for 21 of Mighty’s 27 points in the third canto to cut the lead down to just single digits entering the final frame.
Brownlee finished with 24 points on 33-percent shooting, four rebounds, and four assists. Meanwhile, Gray had 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting with five rebounds and two steals in off-the-bench duties.
Seeing their teammates battle it out, the rest of Mighty Sports zoned in on their defense in the last 10 minutes of the contest. A basket by Randolph Morris would cut the lead down to just four with seven minutes remaining.
Wael Arakji and Dominic Johnson tried to break the will of Mighty Sports by converting cold-blooded triples, but the Filipinos continued pushing.
Morris – who had struggled to find his touch on the stripe – converted four straight free throws late to keep Mighty Sports within striking range with 36 seconds left. After getting a stop, Brownlee tried to continue the rally, but his jumper fell short with 11 seconds left as time expired.
Though in foul trouble for most of the game, Morris still put up 21 points and eight boards.
Juan Gomez de Liano and Roosevelt Adams could not find their touch all game long, combining to shoot just 4-of-12 from the field for a total of 12 points. Jason Brickman had eight points but was limited to just three dimes.
Arakji led Al Riyadi with 23 points, while Johnson had 20 markers built on six triples. As a team, the runners-up in last season’s LBL knocked down 14 triples compared to just six for Mighty Sports.
Mighty Sports 84 – Brownlee 24, Morris 21, Gray 17, De Liano 8, Brickman 8, Adams 4, Santillan 2, Odom 0, Banal 0.
Al Riyadi 89 – Arakji 23, Johnson 20, Saoud 12, Abdelnour 10, Abdelmoneim 9, Gyokchyan 8, Obekpa 7, Bowjee 0, Khatib 0.
Quarterscores: 20-26, 40-54, 67-76, 84-89.