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PH-Mighty Sports battles Taiwan-A

Games Today
(Hsinchuang Gym)
1 p.m. – US vs Korea
3 p.m. – Japan vs India
5 p.m. – Egypt vs Taiwan-B
7 p.m. – PH-Mighty Sports vs Taiwan-A

NEW TAIPEI, Taiwan – It has the height, heft, and more importantly the experience.

But how fast and good its seven imports to play as a team will be known when Philippine representative Mighty Sports Apparels challenges host Taiwan-A today in the William Jones Cup before an expected huge crowd at the Hsinchuang gym here.

Out to lead Mighty Sports’ bid for sporting glory are Al Thornton, Vernon Macklin, Zach Graham, Michael Singletary, and Hamadi N’Diaye – all of them have endeared to Filipino fans having played in the PBA at time time or another.

The two other reinforcements are Dewarick Spencer and Troy Gillenwater – both resident stars in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

The 6-foot-4 Spencer is not only a very creative point-guard, he’s also explosive like the 6-foot-7 Gillenwater.

If all seven imports play the way they were advertised by their respective agents, then Mighty Sports – backed by Scratch It Pera-Pera Agad-Agad! and Symarom – would be unbeatable.

But here’s the hint.

Mighty Sports Coach Bo Perasol emerged from team’s late morning practice looking good and confident a day after arriving from this bustling city.

His smile was radiant and his enthusiasm was understandable.

“We’re almost ready,” said Perasol, who will also call the shots for the University of the Philippines in the coming UAAP season. “We practiced some of our offensive plays and they did quite well. Hopefully we can do much better in the game proper.”

They ought to.

Aside from playing against a crack team whose members have already bonded like brothers – some of the have been playing together since their Youth days – the Mighty Sports dribblers have to be ready also against the partisan crowd.

Perasol said each game in the 9-team tournament that started yesterday is important, so he considers their 7 p.m. showdown with the host squad like a playoff match.

The format of the tournament calls for a single round elims with the No. 1 team emerging as champion which Gilas Pilipinas did four years ago.

“We have to treat each game like a do-or-die if we want to finish on top,” said Perasol. “But I know it’s not going to be easy.”

The Taiwanese squad, for one, is bannered by a bevy of deadly shooters in Tien Lei, Chen Shinian, Lin Chih-Chieh and Lu Cheng-Ju.

Mighty Sports’ duel with Taiwan is actually just the start of a long, difficult drive to the top as it faces the sharp-shooting Korean squad on Sunday, the United States on Tuesday, Japan on Wednesday.

If they survive that stretch, the Mighty Sports dribblers still need to beat defending champion Iran on Friday – a game Filipino workers are eagerly awaiting. (REY LACHICA)