Strong Group PH fends off UAE for winning start


Posted at Jan 28 2023 10:36 AM

Strong Group Philippines got off to a triumphant start in their campaign in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship by escaping with a slim 91-87 triumph over the United Arab Emirates on Friday at the Al-Nasr Club Hall (Saturday morning in Manila).

Nick Young came alive in the second quarter to help Strong Group recover from a slow start and seize control of the ball game. 

The former NBA player scored 11 straight points in the second quarter to push Strong Group ahead, 34-32, after they had finished the opening period behind 19-27. 

Strong Group went on to lead by as much as 20 points, 70-50, off a BJ Andrade three-pointer with 3:30 to play in the third quarter.

However, UAE rallied to within three points, 90-87, with still 20 seconds to go off a jumper by Qais Omar Alshebebi.

Fortunately for Strong Group, a split at the line by Sedrick Barefield with nine seconds to go was enough to keep UAE at bay, and a triple by Alshebebi in their ensuing possession misfired.

Young finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, while another former NBA player in Shabazz Muhammad top-scored for Strong Group with 24 points. Barefield put up 23 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Renaldo Balkman, the former San Miguel and Alab Pilipinas import, had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double. Among Filipinos, Jerom Lastimosa was the highest-scorer with six points.

Alshabebi led UAE with 33 points and 11 rebounds.

Strong Group is back in action on Sunday morning against Al Nasr Libya.