Mighty Sports outsteadied Magnolia, 99-97, in a tune-up match at Ronac gym yesterday but coach Charles Tiu remained wary three days before the apparel and accessories team plunges into action in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship.
Though the team played much better than its 106-99 win over Blackwater last week, Tiu said his players need to work double time on two aspects – execution and defense.
“Team is slowly improving but I would not consider us ready yet,” said the younger brother of retired Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu. “We need to play real smart defensively and also need to improve our execution.”
But the good news is that former LA Lakers star Lamar Odom is doing great.
“Lamar looks better every day and our locals also look okay,” added Tiu.
In fact, it was the 6-foot-10 Odom who rescued the team from the jaws of defeat with his timely basket in the crunch.
Mighty Sports owner Alex Wongchuking was delighted with outcome of the team’s two tune-up matches especially with the performances of Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and Chinese league veteran Randolp Morris.
“I’m hoping they can sustain their good form and help team advance to the semis,” said Wongchuking, who co-owns the team with younger brother and former Xavier School basketball team manager Caesar.
The team is out to improve its maiden showing in the annual tournament after winning only once in seven games two years ago.
Aside from Brownlee and Morris, University of the Philippines star Juan Gomez de Liano and new recruit Jason Brickman also delivered to the delight of a motley crowd.
De Liano held his ground against the pros on the way to scoring 15 points while Brickman, a Fil-Am, showed the brilliance that has made one of the stars in the ASEAN Basketball League.