By Rey C. Lachica
So many things have been said about former LA Lakers star Lamar Odom and Baranggay Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee as Mighty Sports starts its title bid in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship starting tomorrow at Shabab Al Ahli Club.
It’s just fine with Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu.
The boyish-looking mentor out of Ateneo, however, would love to talk at length when you want to ask info about the team’s other import – American Randolph Morris.
Tiu was amazed at how Odom has recovered from a near-death experience in 2015 and how he’s been trying to regain the form the enabled him to help the Lakers win back-to-back NBA titles.
Brownlee needs little introduction as he has been a regular fixture in the pro league. His latest achievement was helping the ever-popular Ginebra win the PBA Commissioners’ Cup at the expense of the powerhouse San Miguel Beermen.
And Morris? Tiu has lots of glowing words for the Chinese Basketball Association veteran.
Not only that he’s easy to deal with but the 6-foot-11 American out of University of Kentucky (2004-2007), could be the game changer for Mighty Sports in its bid to redeem itself from a forgettable 2017 stint in the same tournament.
“If we are going to win the championship, Mo could be the difference maker,” said Tiu. “He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve worked with and can really dominate the game when he wants to.”
In the team’s 98-97 win over Magnolia during their tune-up match last Tuesday, Morris showed what he can bring to the table by banging in 22 points and grabbing 16 boards.
As if to warn their rivals in Dubai, Tiu said Morris is still about 70 percent of his fighting form as he laid off for a long time.
“I’m hopeful that when his legs get under him as the tournament goes on, he can be the old Mo,” added Tiu. “An import does not last long in China and win a championship for no reason.”
As things stand now, Morris could be the player that could give Tiu his first major championship.