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Strong Group eyes 3rd victory in Dubai cagefest

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Strong Group shoots for its third straight win when it faces Al Wahda of Syria early Tuesday, Jan. 31, in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship at the Al-Nasr Club Hall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Coach Charles Tiu Courtesy of Herbert Iponla

Match is set at 1 a.m. with the Jacob Lao-owned team out to put a fitting sequel to an easy 93-76 win over Al Nasr of Libya early Sunday in Group B elims.

The Syrians have yet to win in two games but Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu has refused to take them lightly. For one, the Syrian club has tapped a new import in the hope of turning its fortune around.

“They lost to Al Nasr of Libya but they will have a new and big import for our game. So they’re a different team right now,” said Tiu.

Tiu, however, was delighted at how his locals, especially BJ Andrade, Kevin Quiambao and Justine Baltazar, responded to his challenge after their so-so performances in the team’s scary 91-87 over the national team of the host country Saturday.

“Good win for us, we prepared better and scouted our opponents well. We got our players to follow the game plan and were happy with our win,” said Tiu. “BJ gave us a big lift hitting the first three triples of the game, and I thought Kevin and Justine were huge for us.”

Apart from his imports in Renaldo Balkman and Shabazz Muhammad and Fil-Am Sedrick Barefield, Tiu is hoping his locals will again step up against the Syrians, saying the team, also supported by Mighty Sports and Acrocity, needs a good game in time for their crucial showdown with Dynamo of Lebanon.

The Lebanese squad is also undefeated in two games.

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