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SINGAPORE – PBA star Joseph Yeo and Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright took charge this time, leading Mighty Sports Apparel Philippines to a masterful 105-78 win over the Westport Malaysia Dragons and into the semis of the 2016 Merlion Cup Friday night at the OCBC Arena here.
Like in their scary 92-87 win over the Seoul Samsung Thunders, the country’s representative to the tournament revived after 20 years of hiatus started slow and trailed the Dragons, 17-16.
But the anxiousness Yeo keyed an 8-2 run to put Mighty Sports ahead, 24-19, at the end of the first quarter.
That was the start of Mighty Sports’ rampage as Wright and imports Dewarick Spencer and Al Thornton and Kiefer Ravena joined the fray to practically settle the outcome of the game after only three quarters as they surged to a commanding 77-51 advantage.
With the win, Mighty Sports, backed by HC Technology Pte. Ltd., Huishi International Group Co. Ltd., Cebuana Lhuillier and Scratch It, completed a two-game sweep of the Group B elims.
Mentored by Charles Tiu, Mighty Sports arranged a one-game semis showdown with the Singapore Slingers who finished second in Group A topped by the taller Shanghai Sharks.
Co-owned by former NBA star Yao Ming, the Sharks likewise swept their group elims after whipping the Slingers, 89-67.
The semis matches were being played at presstime with the winners facing each other in another one-game match for the title.
Mighty Sports is hoping to win its second straight title after ruling the William Jones Cup via a grand sweep in Taiwan last July.
Not only the Mighty Sports dominated the paint but they also awed the Dragons with a hail of three pointers, including one from co-team captain Edrick Ferrer in the fourth frame.
Wright led Mighty Sports’ assault with 17 points while Yeo, wjho plays for the Globalport Batang Pier in the pro league with 17 with Spencer, the MVP in the Jones Cup, and Thornton combining for 30 points.
In what could be their warm up before the real battle begins, naturalized Filipino center Marcus Douthit delivered 12 points while Ravena, a two-time UAAP MVP , chipped in 8 points.
Mighty Sports Apparel 105 – Wright 20, Yeo 16, Spencer 16, Thornton 14, Douthit 12, Ravena 8, Brickman 4, N’Dyiaye 4, Alolino 3, Deuthman 3, Ferre 3, G. Banal 3.
Westports Dragons 78 – Kuek 36, Wong 11, Ivan Yeo 8, Ting 6, Yim 5, Wright 4, Ho 4, Qiian 2, Soo 2, Ong 0.
Quarters: 24-19, 53-35, 77-51, 105-78.