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8:30 p.m. – Mighty Sports vs Samsung Thunders
Mighty Sports Apparels-Philippines launches its bid for back-to-back titles when they test the Samsung Thunders at the start of the Merlion Cup today at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
The team has a pair of explosive imports and a naturalized Filipino ready to provide stability but whether they can play as a team will be known when they collide with the two-time Korean Basketball League champions at 8:30 p.m.
Out to provide firepower for the Charles Tiu-mentored Mighty Sports are reigning Jones Cup MVP Dewarick Spencer and former PBA import Al Thornton – the same import who scored 69 points against San Miguel Beer.
The team is not lacking in homegrown talents.
Taking a break from his NBA workouts with the Texas Legends, a team from the NBA Developmental League, Kiefer Ravena will be arriving in the Lion City in time for their match with the Korean team.
Out to provide additional firepower for the team backed HC Technology Pte. Ltd., Huishi International Group Co. Ltd., Cebuana Lhuillier and Scratch It, are PBA player Joseph Yeo (Globalport), and ex-National University star Gelo Alolino.
Beefing up the team is Hamady N’diaye, the 6-foot-11 Sengalese who was also a member of the Jones Cup-winning team.The team left for Singapore yesterday.
Despite their star-studded cast, Tiu is not taking the opposition lightly, saying: “The competition is a bit tougher because teams also have imports. But with a good pool of imports plus local players, I think we got a good chance of winning another championship.”
“Hopefully we get a chance to win the championship again,” said Tiu, who is hoping they can start their title bid in grand fashion.
“It is important for us to win big in the opener,” said the younger brother of Rain or Shine star Chris Tiu.
After the Koreans, the Mighty Sports cagers will face the Malaysian Dragons with hopes of sweeping their group elims.
Also in the cast are ASEAN Basketball League stars Jason Brickman and Matthew Wright, brothers Gab and Ael Banal, TY Tang, Edrick Ferrer, and Jason Deutchman.
The game against the Koreans will perhaps determine which team Mighty faces in the crossover semifinals. The other group has the Shanghai Sharks, a club from Taiwan and the host Singapore Slingers.