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Homenetmen pushes Mighty to brink of ouster from Dubai tourney

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Homenetmen virtually shut the door on Mighty Sports' slim bid of making the semifinals of the Dubai International Basketball Tournament with a 100-93 win at the Al Ahli Club in Dubai early Wednesday (Philippine Time).

Willie Miller and Gary David's explosions went for naught as the Filipino side once again suffered a heartbreaker against the Lebanese squad led by national team star Fadi El-Khatib.

Triples from Miller, David, and Dominic McGuire helped Mighty cut a once 14-point lead in the third quarter to just four, 61-57, later in the period.

But Homenetmen started the fourth with 11 unanswered points to stretch its lead to its largest at 18, 81-63, with 7:49 left.

Mighty still threatened to steal the ballgame especially when David made four free throws off a three-point foul by El-Khatib plus the ensuing technical foul for resentment to cut the lead down to five, 96-91, with 50.8 seconds remaining.

David, however, was called for steps while trying to quickly drive to the basket exactly three seconds later, giving Homenetmen a chance to seal it.

Ellie Chamoun misfired a triple as shotclock was about to expire, bit James Majok tapped the ball to Michael Taylor, who milked some time before being fouled by Jeron Teng. Taylor finally iced the game with two charities with 18 seconds remaining.

Taylor, who went on an 11-2 run by his lonesome to break a 17-all tie late in the first quarter, finished with 29 points, two rebounds, and one steal off the bench, while Kevin Galloway added 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one block for Homenetmen, whose own playoff bid got a huge boost after moving up to 2-2.

David had 19 points, while Miller dropped 17 to backstop Justin Brownlee (20) in scoring for Mighty, which fell to 0-4.

Kiefer Ravena, who has been Brownlee's scoring backup this tournament, was limited to only four markers.

Box Scores:

Homenetmen 100-Taylor 29, Galloway 20, Jackson 19, El-Khatib 15, Souiad 10, Majok 4, Hawe 2, Mechref 1, Gyokchyan 0, Chamoun 0

Mighty 93-Brownlee 20, David 19, Miller 17, McGuire 15, Thabeet 7, Teng 5, Ravena 4, AraƱa 4, Belga 2, Douthit 0, Tiu 0, Intal 0

Quarterscores: 26-19, 42-33, 70-63, 100-93

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno