Quiambao-led Strong Group nears group sweep after rout of Beirut SC in Dubai tournament

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PHOTO: Strong Group Athletics
Kevin Quiambao continued his stellar performance in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship, towing Strong Group Athletics (SGA) to a 95-73 blowout of Lebanon's Beirut Sports Club on Wednesday morning (January 24, Manila time) at Al Nasr Club.
Quiambao had 20 points on a 7/14 clip, including four triples, with four rebounds and one steal as Strong Group improved to a 4-0 win-loss record.
Already assured of a quarterfinal berth, SGA can sweep its group against Libya's Al Ahli Tripoli on Thursday (January 25, 1.15 a.m.).
McKenzie Moore added 19 points, eight assists, and five rebounds, Jordan Heading chipped in 15, Dwight Howard poured 11 markers, and JD Cagulangan chimed in 12 for Charles Tiu's side.
Despite the dominant outing, SGA suffered a huge blow after Cagulangan went down due to an apparent ankle injury, as the University of the Philippines standout drew contact with Beirut SC's Sergio El Darwich at the 9:23 mark of the fourth quarter.
Before leaving the game, aside from scoring, Cagulangan also flashed his playmaking after dishing six assists in nearly 17 minutes of playing time.
Quiambao, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player, led SGA's strong start to establish a 12-point lead over Beirut after the first period, 32-20.
Firing from all cylinders, Strong Group closed the opening half up by 18, 58-40, and from that point, the game was already over for the Lebanese squad.
Beirut trimmed SGA's huge 27-point lead to 13 points with eight minutes left in the final canto but their efforts were too late, as Francis Escandor sank a pair of late treys to finish the game.
El Darwich led the way for Beirut in a futile effort with a game-high 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting, including four three-pointers, alongside three rebounds and two assists.
Ali Haidar and Dar Tucker contributed 15 and 14 markers, respectively, for Beirut.

Numbers Behind the Game

Strong Group is nonetheless the better side. Statistically, the Philippines-based cagers almost dominated every department offensively and defensively. SGA showcased a well-rounded approach to basketball, ascertained by the following stats:
Rebound Wins Game. SGA crashed the board, beating Beirut in rebounds, 43-30. Of this tally, 11 were offensive rebounds, and they effectively translated these into 15 second-chance points. For their part, the 2022 Lebanese Basketball League champion scored five from second chance opportunities. Needless to say, Strong Group's offense and defense got a much-needed boost with their impressive rebounding.
Unselfish Basketball. Despite having ex-National Basketball Association players who can score on their own, Strong Group still distributed the ball well, finding the best guys to get the scoring job done. They finished the game with 19 assists, while Beirut registered 12.
Reliable Second Unit. Tiu's bench outscored their counterparts by a whooping 27-8 margin. Cagulangan paced the Strong Group substitutes with 12 before his apparent ankle injury in the fourth. Every SGA sub except Tony Ynot tallied at least a bucket. In contrast, Beirut relied heavily on its starters, who combined for 65 of 73 of their total point output.

Last Modified: 2024-Jan-25 09.31.46 UTC+0800