Strong Group treated the overseas Filipino workers in attendance to another dominant show, this time clobbering Al Wahda from Syria, 87-61 in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship early Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Al Nasr Club Hall, Dubai, UAE.
As expected, the imports did most of the damage for the Philippine representatives although the local crew also had their fair share of the spotlight in the wire-to-wire win that hiked the team’s record to three victories in as many games.
The win was not only satisfying for the OFWs but also for team owners Frank and Jacob Lao and coach Charles Tiu.
“We have been improving every game and this was our best defensive performance,” said Tiu, who again showered former PBA import Shabazz Muhammad with glowing words.
“Shabazz carried us offensively, he was great so we kept riding him but the defense was solid today and I am happy,” Tiu added.
Muhammad erupted for 37 points and 11 rebounds as he ran wild right off the gates, leading a blistering 22-9 start from Strong Group that is backed by Mighty Sports and Acrocity.
That onslaught set the tone for the rout as the PH club kept the double-digit advantage all throughout the contest as it padded its lead to 29 points twice, the first one a 68-39 and the last at midway through the final frame, 79-50.
Renaldo Balkman finished with nine points and 11 rebounds while Fil-Am guard Sedrick Barefield and Jerom Lastimosa had 10 points each.
The win should also come as a huge momentum builder for the team which will next take on the fellow top contender and also still undefeated team in Group A, Dynamo from Lebanon, on Wednesday, Feb.1. (Manila time).