Mighty Sports defeated the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 98-97, in a tune-up match at Ronac gym Tuesday to go 2-0 in exhibition games.
Coach Charles Tiu, however, remains wary three days before the team plunges into action in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship.
Though the team played much better than its 106-99 win over Blackwater last week, Tiu said his players need to work double time on two aspects -- execution and defense.
"Team is slowly improving but I would not consider us ready yet," said Tiu. "We need to play real smart defensively and also need to improve our execution."
But the good news is that former LA Lakers star Lamar Odom is doing great.
"Lamar looks better every day and our locals also look okay," added Tiu. "Lamar will do whatever we ask of him. He's been a great teammate so far, doesn't complain, puts in the work and he does what we say. He is slowly adjusting and adapting to what we want."
In fact, it was the 6-foot-10 Odom who rescued the team from the jaws of defeat with his timely three-point shot in the crunch. He finished with seven points.
Mighty Sports owner Alex Wongchuking was delighted with the outcome of the team's two tune-up matches, especially with the performances of Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and Chinese league veteran Randolph Morris.
"I'm hoping they can sustain their good form and help team advance to the semis," said Wongchuking.
The team is out to improve its maiden showing in the annual tournament after winning only once in seven games two years ago.
Aside from Brownlee and Morris, University of the Philippines star Juan Gomez de Liano delivered to the delight of a motley crowd. Gomez de Liano held his ground against the pros on the way to scoring 16 points.
For Magnolia's part, coach Chito Victolero likes the fact that the Pambansang Manok got a much-needed competition before their highly-anticipated 2019 PBA season debut Sunday versus TNT.
"Our goal really was to get back into game shape because we all know other teams have played four or five games already this season while us, we haven't had a single game played," Victolero told ESPN5 on Tuesday.
Victolero, the newly-minted 2018 PBA Press Corps Coach of the Year, placed his team at around 88 percent "game ready" after the one-point defeat to Mighty Sports.
"I just rotated my players and made sure everyone get the feel of the game again since we all came from a long break," explained the 43-year-old PBA coach. "But the good thing is, the team chemistry is still there."
ESPN5's Richard Dy contributed to this report.