Strong Group off to great start in Dubai tourney after drubbing UAE

Jordan Heading looks for a recipient of a kick-out pass against Omar Al-Ameeri. UAE Basketball Association
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--Strong Group Athletics began its campaign in the Dubai International Basketball Championship on a high note after beating the United Arab Emirates, 82-66, early Saturday (Philippine Time) at the Al-Nasr Sports Club.

In a game that saw game officials stopping it momentarily to check out one of the arena's backboards following a power slam by Dwight Howard, Strong Group slowly pulled away from UAE and held off one last push by the host side.

After UAE kept the game close and even took the lead in the first quarter, Strong Group, behind Howard's near-perfect shooting and an impressive all-around game from Andre Roberson, slowly took control of the game by the second quarter and led, 46-40, at halftime.

Strong Group then held UAE to only nine points in the third quarter to go up, 64-49, before starting the fourth on a 8-2 run for their largest lead at 72-51.

UAE tried to pull off a huge comeback by going on a 10-0 run to cut the lead down to 11, 72-61, with four minutes remaining, but Strong Group kept them at bay in the end.

Roberson proved coach Charles Tiu was right in saying that he could excel offensively in the Asian basketball scene as he led Strong Group with 15 points alongside 16 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.

Howard added 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting, six rebounds, and two steals before sitting out the last 14 minutes of the game.

Kevin Quiambao was the top local for Strong Group with 13 points on 5-of-8 field goals including 3-of-5 from three-point range, three rebounds, and three assists.

Hamid Abdul-Lateef led UAE with 19 points, two rebounds, one assist, and two blocks.

Box Scores:

Strong Group 82-Roberson 15, Howard 14, Quiambao 13, Moore 11, Heading 8, Ynot 5, Baltazar 4, Sanchez 4, Liwag 4, Cagulangan 2, Escandor 2, Blatche 0

UAE 66-Abdul-Lateef 19, Dickerson 13, Al-Ameeri 12, Al-Shabibi 12, Al-Sawan 4, Ashour 3, Mbaye 2, Hussein 1, Ayman 0, Al-Nuaimi 0, Ahmad 0

Quarterscores: 22-22, 46-40, 64-49, 82-66

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