Strong Group Athletics eyes sweep of Group B at Dubai basketball tourney

Strong Group Athletics eyes sweep of Group B at Dubai basketball tourney

STRONG Group Athletics tries to zero in on a group sweep when it tackles Beirut Sports Club in the resumption of its campaign in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship Wednesday at the Al Nasr Club.

Coming off a two-day break, Strong Group wants no let-up against another Lebanese ball club at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday in a bid to go 4-0 in Group B with a game left in its schedule.

Strong Group over the weekend scored a gritty 104-95 win over Lebanon’s Homenetmen for its closest win so far in the 12-team Dubai joust after drubbing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) national team, 82-66, and Al Wahda of Syria, 89-67.

Kevin Quiambao, who attracted massive interest to play for the UAE national team, has been tasked to carry the fight for the Philippine representative anew with a team-high scoring average in the first three matches.

The UAAP Season 86 and Finals MVP has stamped his class as Strong Group’s strongest weapon so far despite the presence of four quality imports led by Dwight Howard with norms of 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

Against Homenetmen, Mr. Quiambao poured in 19 points, four rebounds and four assists to provide coverage for Mr. Howard, who finally had his breakout performance with 32 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.

Andray Blatche, Andre Roberson and McKenzie Moore are also expected to continue their steady play as the charges of head coach Charles Tiu eye to prime up for a heavy collision against fellow Group B leader Al Ahly Tri Sports Club of Libya Thursday.

Like the Filipino team owned by Frank and Jacob Lao, the Libyan ball club took care of its first three assignments against Beirut, 81-75, Homenetmen, 93-71, and UAE national team, 94-79.

Strong Group is looking for a stronger outing in Dubai this time around after falling short in the quarterfinals against reigning champion Al Riyadi, which has been dominating Group A with a similar 3-0 slate. — John Bryan Ulanday