MIGHTY Sports leaves for Dubai today with some of the players touted as the future of Philippine basketball and parade them in front of Filipino overseas workers in the tiny but oil-rich United Arab Emirates.
The rising stars are former Ateneo skipper Thirdy Ravena, ex-NU standout Dave Ildefonso and UP’s Juan Gomez de Liano. Filipino fans in the Emirates, however, won’t see 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto who is still in the US.
The team announced that Sotto won’t play in the Dubai International Basketball tournament due to logistical and scheduling issues.
The team, carrying the colors of Mighty Sports-Creative Pacific, told its supporters here and in Dubai that the latest development was beyond its control and will not affect its chances since the team, also backed by Go-for-Gold, Gatorade and Oriental Game, remains solid.
Coach Charles Tiu was confident of the team’s chances, saying he has enough firepower with the presence of naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche, veteran Renaldo Balkman, McKenzie Moore, Jelan Kendrick and Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga.
Other members of the team are Joseph Yeo, Jarell Lim, Jamie Malonzo, Javi Gomez de Liano, Joaqui Manuel, Gab Banal and the exciting Mikee Williams.
They will launch their title bid on Thursday against the national team of the host nation after being drawn in the five-team Group B.
After UAE, Mighty Sports will face Al-Itihad of Syria at 11 p.m. on Friday before taking a break for two straight days.
“We’re all hoping we can bring more excitement to the Filipinos in the Emirates so we hope we can hurdle our first two games,” said team owner Alex Wongchuking.
Mighty Sports resumes its campaign on Monday next week against the dangerous Rades of Tunisia before capping its elimination campaign against Beirut Sports Club at 1 .m. on Wednesday.