Renaldo Balkman has once again lifted a Philippine-based club team to a championship.
This time around, the 35-year-old Puerto Rican was instrumental in Mighty Sports’ historic seven-game sweep of the 2020 Dubai Basketball International Championship — the first time a non-Middle East team has won the crown in 31 years.
For his efforts, Balkman was named as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He posted norms of 19.28 points and 7.28 rebounds per game, while defending the best players of the opposition.
“I’m thirty-five years old right now, [so] I’m enjoying the moment. I’m still enjoying to do something I love at my age and what I accomplished throughout my years,” said Balkman.
This is his third individual plum for a Philippine team since 2018, winning the ABL Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 with Alab; then winning the MVP plum during the 2019 Jones Cup with Mighty Sports.
Joining Balkman in the all-tournament team is Andray Blatche.
The naturalized Filipino posted norms of 17.57 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 4.17 assists per game.
For his brilliance all tournament long, Charles Tiu was hailed as the Coach of the Tournament.
Despite the a short preparation time for the annual meet, Tiu was able to bring the team together while showing that he could compete against the finest and brightest coaches of the Middle East.
With him steering the wheel, Mighty Sports dominated the competition, winning by an average margin of 10.71 points per game.
“It’s great. It’s a great feeling. This team is just truly special,” said Tiu.