Mighty Sports Philippines dropped its first outing in the 28th Dubai International Basketball Tournament after suffering an 83-75 loss to Moroccan team Sale on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Sale was paced by Brandon Freeman who scored a game-high 27 points, including 5-of-9 threes. Abderrahim Najah had 13 markers, while Zakaria Elmasbahi and Soufiane Kourdou each had 11.
Justin Brownlee led Mighty Sports with 27 points in the losing cause, while Kiefer Ravena added 11 markers.
Sale jumped out to a 15-7 start behind the offense of Kourdou. But with the help of Ravena and Brownlee, Mighty Sports was able to trim the deficit to five, 20-15, 5:40 in the second period. A jumper from Freeman put Sale back on top by seven, but Ravena responded with a layup to keep the Philippines within five, 26-21.
Freeman connected on another jumper to make it 28-21, but Ravena blew past his defender on the last play of the first half as Mighty Sports trailed by five, 30-25, at the break. The Philippine squad only shot 28% in the first two quarers and was outrebounded by the Moroccan team, 28-20. Mighty Sports also committed five more turnovers than its opponent, but led 17-8 in bench production.
The Philippines opened the third frame with a 9-5 run, capped by a triple from Brownlee, to come within a single point, 35-34. Sale, however, built another eight-point lead after a dunk from Abdelhakim Zouita. Brownlee made another three-pointer at the 2:49 mark of the third to trim the lead to three, 48-45.
A layup from Intal inched Mighty Sports closer, but Sale kept the Philippine team at bay and brought a 55-51 lead heading into the final period after Najah scored on a fastbreak layup at the buzzer.
The Philippines was able to take the lead for the first time after a breakaway dunk from Hasheem Thabeet and a layup from Ravena, 60-57, 8:22 remaining in the final quarter. Freeman knocked down a triple to tie the game, but Intal drained a three of his own to keep Mighty Sports on top, 63-60. The Moroccan team forced a deadlock with another three, this time from Elmasbahi.
Sale regained the lead, 64-63, after Thabeet was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, leading to a free throw from Zouita. A layup from Gary David pushed Mighty Sports back on top, 65-64, but Freeman responded with a basket on the other end to give Sale a 66-65 lead, 5:11 left in the game. The Philippines gained a 67-66 edge after Marcus Douthit made a pair of freebies, but Freeman hit back-to-back triples to put Sale ahead by five, 72-67, 2:09 remaining.
Ravena hit two from the stripe to cut the lead to three, but another three from Elmasbahi extended Sale’s margin to six, 75-69, 1:35 left in the game. Mighty Sports called a timeout but committed a turnover which led to another three-pointer from Freeman to make it 77-69. Another error from the Philippines and a dunk from Mohamed Choua gave Sale a 10-point lead, 55 seconds remaining, clinching the game for the Moroccan squad.
Mighty Sports plays the Egyptian national team on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Mighty Sports’ games are televised live at 1 a.m. on AksyonTV and Hyper on Cignal. You can also catch the livestream on www.facebook.com/HyperHDPH.