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Strong Group remains undefeated in Dubai tourney after ripping Beirut Club

Kevin Quiambao and JD Cagulangan caught fire in the first half to pace Strong Group. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Strong Group Athletics returned to action in the Dubai International Basketball Championship with a bang after drubbing Beirut Club, 95-73, early Wednesday (Philippine Time) at the Al-Nasr Sports Club.

Back after a full day of rest, Strong Group quickly brought its A-game to Beirut Club, erupting for 32 points in the first quarter before ending the period up 12.

Strong Group then gradually pulled away from Beirut Club, holding them to just 16 points in the third quarter to take a 75-56 lead entering the fourth.

Beirut Club tried to crawl back into the game, especially after JD Cagulangan, who was having a stellar performance, hurt his ankle during a loose ball scramble early into the final frame, but the Lebanese side could only draw to within 13 on some occasions.

Kevin Quiambao led Strong Group, which moved up to 4-0, with 20 points, 17 in the first half, four rebounds, and one steal.

McKenzie Moore, who played primary ball handler for most of the second half, added 19 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.

Cagulangan had 12 markers, 10 in the first half, two boards, and six dimes before injuring his ankle.

Strong Group will face Al-Ahli Tripoli early Thursday (Philippine Time) for the right to enter the quarterfinals as the top seed for Group B.

Al-Ahli Tripoli took down Al-Wahda, 93-84, on Tuesday with Mohamed Sadi flirting with a rare triple-double after tallying 28 points, 14 rebounds, and eight steals.

Sergio El-Darwich fired 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals for Beirut Club, which fell to 1-2 after bowing to Strong Group.

Box Scores:

Strong Group 95-Quiambao 20, Moore 19, Heading 15, Cagulangan 12, Howard 11, Escandor 6, Liwag 3, Baltazar 2, Sanchez 2, Roberson 2, Ynot 0

Beirut Club 73-El-Darwich 28, Haidar 15, Tucker 14, Saleh 8, Rabay 3, Ghudwin 3, Mahmoud 2, Martinez 0, Mechref 0, Jarrouj 0

Quarterscores: 32-20, 58-40, 75-56, 95-73

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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