By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--Sagesse survived a wild finish and held off Mighty Sports, 95-92, in their Dubai International Basketball Tournament clash at the Al Ahli Club in Dubai early Monday (Philippine Time).
The Philippine side let a seven-point lead slip and fell short again at the death to its Lebanese counterpart to further drop to 0-3 in the tournament.
Mighty went off to a good start, taking a 21-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But Sagesse took advantage of Mighty's turnovers in the second quarter and took the advantage, 46-41, at halftime.
Kiefer Ravena and Justin Brownlee then joined forces in the third period, leading Mighty to a 33-point quarter that helped the team regain control of the game, 74-69.
Mighty appeared to be holding on after stretching the lead to seven, 78-71, with 8:21 to go, but a virtual six-point play highlighted by two free throws from Terrell Stoglin off a Gab Banal unsportsmanlike foul, a Todd O'Brien baseline jumper, and another layup from Stoglin after Sagesse retained possession due to a foul away from the ball by Chris Tiu sparked Sagesse's final attack. Sagesse eventually reclaimed the edge, 82-80, with 5:54 left.
Mighty tried to keep the game tight, equalizing the game twice in the ensuing possessions, but Sagesse scored six straight points again to put the club up, 90-84, with 4:03 remaining.
Mighty did not give up, putting on a 6-2 run capped by a Brownlee layup to cut the lead to two, 92-90, with 1:57 left.
The team had a chance to reclaim the lead as O'Brien missed a wide open corner jumper, but Brownlee missed two hurried three-point attempts with 1:19 left.
Mighty's defense forced Mohamad Ibrahim to a corner triple that hit the side of the backboard, but Ravena bungled a wild layup on the other end and fouled Stoglin while trying to take a steal. Stoglin made both free throws to widen the lead to four, 94-90, with 38.2 seconds to go.
Brownlee went for a quick attack and was rewarded with two charities that chipped the lead back to two, 94-92, with 31.4 seconds left.
Ryan Araña's defensive stand forced Stoglin to take a long three-point attempt that he missed, but Mike Efebra grabbed the offensive rebound against Marcus Douthit and found Ibrahim, who was fouled by Brownlee while trying to milk the clock.
Ibrahim, however, kept Mighty in the game as he only made one out of two charities with 2.6 seconds left to up the lead to three.
Dominic McGuire inbounded the ball to an open Beau Belga in the final play, but Belga's equalizer attempt failed to find the mark, letting the Lebanese side escape.
Stoglin, who played the entire game, dropped 46 points to lead Sagesse along with two rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
Brownlee once again top scored for Mighty, which now needs to sweep its remaining three assignments to stay alive in the semifinal race, with 27 points, three rebounds, two assists, and one steal, while Ravena added 25 points, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal.
Mighty will take a day off before swinging back to action early Wednesday (Philippine Time) against Homnetmen.
Sagesse 95-Stoglin 46, O'Brien 18, Efebra 17, Bou Abboud 8, Ammoury 3, Godfrey 2, Ibrahim 1, Ghottas 0, Beyrouthy 0
Mighty 92-Brownlee 27, Ravena 25, McGuire 10, Douthit 7, Tiu 6, David 6, Banal 5, Teng 4, Araña 2, Thabeet 0, Miller 0, Belga 0
Quarterscores: 16-21, 46-41, 69-74, 95-92
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