Mighty Sports—Go For Gold Philippines wasted a 15-point second quarter lead but rallied to beat South Korea, 89-82, in Changhua city, Taiwan on Tuesday, as the Filipino club inched closer to winning its Jones Cup second title.
Renaldo Balkman scored 19 points, and McKenzie Moore added 17 to lead the charge for Mighty Sports.
As expected the Koreans displayed crisp passes and impressive outside shooting at Changhua gym, but Mighty Sports banked heavily on the athleticism and smarts of its 5 foreign players to win the much-awaited battle of two undefeated teams in the 9-team tourney.
Mighty Sports outscored Korea 28-9 in the third and fell behind 70-62 early in the fourth before McKenzie Moore joined forces with Renaldo Balkman, Zach Graham and Hamady Ndiaye for the comeback.
Four straight charities by Moore practically sealed the win for Mighty, which took an 81-73 advantage.
With the win — its fifth straight this year and 13th overall since its 8-0 sweep of the title three years ago — the HealthCube-backed Filipino side has practically secured the title barring a defeat to host Taiwan A on Saturday.
Coached by Charles Tiu, Mighty Sports takes a break on Wednesday and Thursday before taking on Indonesia on Friday. Its last assignment will be against Taiwan-B on Sunday.
The Koreans, who slipped to 4-1, still have to meet the Japanese on Friday and the Taiwanese on Sunday.
“We still have three more games, so anything can happen,” said Tiu, who credited the team’s unselfish plays for the win.
MIGHTY SPORTS 89 — Balkman 19, Moore 17, Graham 16, Phelps 14, Gray 7, Ndiaye 6, Williams 5, Adams 3, Brickman 2.
SOUTH KOREA 82 — Ratliffe 24, J.Y. Choi 14, D.S. Lee 11, J.Y. Lee 11, Heo 9, S.H. Lee 5, S.Y. Kim 4, J.K. Kim 4, Song 0.
Quarters: 23-21; 51-38; 60-66; 89-82.
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