CHEMISTRY-WISE, Mighty Sports Philippines is starting to get into the groove of things as it prepares for the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship slated to open on Friday.
“I think we are getting there,” said two-time NBA champion Lamar Odom, one of the three Mighty Sports reinforcements.
On the comeback trail, Odom’s presence and leadership was enough for Mighty Sports to beat PBA team Blackwater, 106-99 in a tune-up game over the weekend at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Backstopped by better imports in Odom, a more mature Justin Brownlee and Randolph Morris, Mighty Sports is ready to face the stiff challenge against top clubs from the Middle East.
“We look better right now, that’s a good sign,” said Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu.
The team is an upgrade than the Philippine-based club team which competed two years ago with young guns Juan Gomez de Liaño, Jett Manuel, Gab Banal, Jason Brickman, Santi Santillan, Justin Gutang and Troy Rike hoping to deliver the goods.
“Now, at least we have a younger squad, more energetic, and they listen better,” said Tiu.
Also in the roster are Fil-Ams Jeremiah Grey and Roosevelt Adams, as well as TY Tang and Joseph Yeo, former Xavier School teammates who are reunited for the week-long tournament.
Without experienced PBA vets, Tiu is glad that his imports have taken the leadership role for Mighty Sports.
Especially Odom, whom they look upon with.
“They listen to him. Obviously, they respect Lamar. I’m not putting pressure on them too much but if they play their game, we’ll be alright,” said Tiu.
The team, backed by SMDC, Go for Gold, Healthcube and Oriental Group, will leave on Thursday as it tries to improve on its performance in the same tournament two years ago.