A late three-pointer from two-time NBA champion Lamar Odom allowed Mighty Sports Philippines to win, 98-97, over PBA champions Magnolia Hotshots during a tune-up game on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Ronac Basketball Court in San Juan, Metro Manila.
Fellow imports Justin Brownlee scored 25 points and Randolph Morris added 24 points for Mighty Sports to emerge victorious in their second tune-up game before the 2019 Dubai International Basketball Championships.
Collegiate basketball star Juan Gomez De Liano also scored 15 points in the game while Jason Brickman showed the brilliance that he previously displayed while playing for the Thai team Mono Vampires in the ASEAN Basketball League.
Rodney Brondial finished with 15 points and Ian Sangalang registered 12 points for the Hotshots which had the lead through most of the game until Odom scored the last of his seven points.
Last Saturday, Jan. 26, Mighty Sports also seized a 106-99 win over Blackwater Elite during a tune-up game at the San Juan Arena.
While the team went undefeated in their two tune-up games, Mighty Sports Philippines coach Charles Tiu insisted that the team still needs to work double time on two aspects: execution and defense, before the tournament in Dubai, which will begin on Friday, Feb. 1.
“Team is slowly improving but I would not consider us ready yet,” Tiu said. “We need to play real smart defensively and also need to improve our execution.”
However, Tiu also mentioned that Odom, who will be returning from a five-year hiatus from basketball, is doing great. The coach said that the former NBA star ‘looks better every day’ and that the locals ‘also look okay’.
Meanwhile, Mighty Sports owner Alex Wongchuking expressed delight over the team’s victories against two PBA teams during their tune-up games, especially with the performances of Brownlee and Morris.
“I’m hoping they can sustain their good form and help the team advance to the semis,” Wongchuking said.
Mighty Sports seeks to improve from their previous finish in the tournament last 2017 where they only won one game in their six outings.