For the first time ever, the trophy of the Dubai International Basketball Tournament is moving away from West Asia - and it’s all thanks to Mighty Sports-Pilipinas.
The Filipinos completed a clean sweep of the 2020 edition of the regional tournament to be crowned kings - the first-ever team outside the Middle East to do so.
For head coach Charles Tiu, all of this was just a fulfillment of a promise. “It’s a great, great feeling. Of course, our semis loss last year taught us a lot,” he shared.
He then continued. “This year, it feels nice. This is for all the fans who have supported us.”
Of course, the Philippine team also did nothing less than live up to the hype - especially with NBA veterans Andray Blatche and Renaldo Balkman powering a young yet talented core. “This team is special. We just got a great group of guys,” their youthful mentor said.
He then continued, “We’ve got guys who we will see play for the national team one day. We’re a young team, but we were able to find a way.”
Indeed, young guns such as Thirdy Ravena and Juan Gomez de Liano have only gained valuable experience in international play - and those two, alongside Isaac Go and Javi GDL, are part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
Without a doubt, though, they wouldn’t have done it if not for the leadership of Blatche and Balkman. As Coach Charles put it, “Andray and Renaldo were great. They led this team. They were true pros.”