The Mighty Sport Philippines embarked on a quest for redemption in Dubai and they certainly did the flag proud.
After a humbling experience in the 2017 Dubai International Basketball tournament where they only managed to secure one victory, the Charles Tiu mentored squad beefed up its line-up and returned with a vengeance this year, going 6-1 in the tournament (losing only to eventual champions Al Riyadi) that ran from February 1 to 9.
Although they came up short in taking home the gold, the upbeat squad certainly lived up to expectations and still managed to get a podium finish by bagging third place in the bronze medal match against Homenetmen Lebanon.
Check out some glaring observations from the tournament, courtesy of FOX Sports PH.
Jason Brickman is one smooth operator
Plenty of speculations about a possible PBA stint flooded headlines as soon as news broke that Jason Brickman was released by the Mono Vampire in the ASEAN Basketball League.
The 27-year-old Filipino-American guard quickly proved why he is coveted by plenty of suitors by facilitating the Mighty Sports’ offence to perfection with his pinpoint passing and playmaking wizardry. Brickman justified the Jimmy Alapag and Olsen Racela comparisons by dropping dimes left and right and making his teammates look good on the offensive end.
Lamar Odom still has ways to go to get his legs back
After suffering quite the health scare back in 2015—not to mention getting up there in age—it’s safe to assume that Lamar Odom’s best days as a basketball player are well behind him.
Although he did struggle to find his shot in the tournament (going scoreless in five of seven total games), the 38-year-old forward proved that his exemplary reflexes are still there, dropping precise passes on offense and disrupting plenty of shots on the other end despite playing limited minutes.
Odom’s short but sweet stint in the tourney will no doubt prepare him for his next endeavour in the BIG3 3on3 league—which could sometimes even be more physically demanding than a full court game.
PBA teams will swoon over Adams and Gray
Aside from the marvellous play by imports Justin Brownlee and Randolph Morris, Filipino-American wing players Roosevelt Adams and Jeremiah Gray also shared the spotlight for Mighty Sports.
Possessing nuclear athleticism paired with a smooth touch from distance, PBA teams will no doubt pine for the big combo guards once they become eligible to be drafted. With good ’Three-and-D’ players hard to come by these days, Adams and Gray will definitely be a hot commodity in the 2020 Draft.
Sidenote: Morris will also be a dominant PBA import in conferences without height restrictions. The three-time CBA champion, however, appears to have found a home in China.
JDL is ready for primetime
No doubt Odom was the most popular player in the tournament, but flamboyant teenager Juan Gomez de Liano was probably a close second. The 19-year-old guard from the University of the Philippines drew plenty of ‘oohs and ahhhs’ from the Filipino migrant workers in attendance with his crazy handles and fearless drives to the basket.
Jett Manuel retired way too early
Shooters shoot and that’s exactly what engineer Jett Manuel did in Dubai. The recently-retired PBA player was not shy at all and let if fly whenever he had a good look.
The 26-year-old saved his best for last, dropping a team-high 19 markers in the bronze medal game.
Charles Tiu will be an asset in the pros
With older brother Chris now retired, we might soon see another Tiu in the PBA—or in the sidelines, at least. At just 30 years old, Charles Tiu has already proven himself as a player’s coach.
Aside from creating game plans against the best club and national teams in Asia during the Dubai tourney, Tiu also had to manage plenty of egos among his roster.
He certainly earned the respect of the veterans that have been around the block for some time, while also instilling confidence to the team’s young stars.
(Images from Facebook/Dubai Basketball Championship & Mighty Sports)