By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Mighty Sports is undefeated in the 2019 William Jones Cup after notching a 116-87 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds at the Changhua Stadium in Taiwan on Monday.
Mighty Sports had a rather slow start, even trailing 27-26 in the first quarter, before seizing control with a massive second frame.
They outscored the Canadians, 39-9, in the pivotal second period to build a 75-36 lead at the half, with Renaldo Balkman and Eugene Phelps sparking their breakaway.
It was all Mighty Sports from that point on, as they cruised to victory in the second half.
Balkman was once again superb for Mighty Sports, making all 8 of his field goals to finish with 22 points — 17 of which came in the first half. He added 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals in an all-around performance.
Jeremiah Gray led Mighty Sports with 25 points, while Phelps had a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Mighty Sports improved to 4-0 in the tournament, tied with South Korea.
Taylor Browne (25 points) and Patrick Simon (25 points) paced the now 0-4 UBC team.
Mighty Sports will play its biggest challenge on Tuesday, when it takes on an also unbeaten South Korean team.
On Sunday, the Philippines proved too mighty for familiar foes Japan, as they pulverized the latter, 94-59, also at Changhua Gym.
Japan looked to pull away in the opening frame as they shot the lights out from everywhere and took advantage of Philippines’ early shooting slump to establish a 12-5 lead.
But just as Japan thought that they had the game in the bag, Mighty Sports’ import McKenzie Moore played hard in the paint and ignited the Philippines’ scoring run.
Mighty Sports team captain Renaldo Balkman came surging after Mckenzie’s run and took over the game as he finished with 27 points and 12 boards, a double-double effort for the birthday boy.
Filipino-American Mikey Williams stood out, pouring in 17 points and was the third leading scorer of the team behind Balkman and import Eugene Phelps.
With the impressive performance from the PH squad, it was their biggest win of the tournament with a 35-point lead. (With a report from ABS-CBN News)