Mighty Sports Philippines opened their Dubai International Basketball Championship campaign with a 88-82 victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Team at the Shabab Al Ahli Club on Thursday.
Jelan Kendrick led the way for Mighty Sports with 19 points, while Andray Blatche, Mikey Williams, and Renaldo Balkman each added 15 points.
Mighty Sports Philippines got off to a hot start with an 11-2 run to open the contest. But their early dominance faded quickly as Lebanese import Fadi Elkhatib and Qais Alshabebi found their rhythm.
Mighty Sports took a 41-37 lead into halftime.
UAE outscored the Mighty Sports 28-22 in the third quarter behind Elkhatib and Alshabebi. Mighty Sports trailed 65-63 going into the final quarter.
Mighty Sports created separation through a Mikey Williams 3-pointer with 1:24 left to play. A pair of missed free throws from Elkhatib in the following possession led to a breakaway jam for Balkman at the other end to seal the victory for Mighty.
Alshabebi and Elkhatib were unstoppable for UAE, combining for 57 points.
Mighty Sports Philippines next plays Friday when they take on Syria's Al Itihad.