Strong Group Realty head coach Charles Tiu eyes a sweep of the group stage when it tangles with Dynamo Lebanon in a battle of two unbeaten ball clubs in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championships at the Al Nasr Club Hall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates Wednesday night (11 p.m. Manila time).

After encountering rough sailing in its opening game en route to subduing a tough UAE national team, 91-87, Strong Group has scored runaway victories over Al Nasr-Libya, 93-76, and Al Wahda-Syria, 87-61, for a 3-0 start in Group A.

The Lebanese squad, meanwhile, has been dominant in its first three matches, manhandling its opponents by an average winning margin of over 16 points.

Both teams have already qualified in the quarterfinal round by virtue of their solid records.

Tiu is wary of Dynamo-Lebanon's strength, noting their two reinforcements – Ibrahima Thomas and power forward Cleanthony Early – are making the biggest differences.

"Dynamo is the number one team in Lebanon now. Even ahead of Al Riyadi. They are scary good and will be a tough match up to the (Strong Group's former) NBA players, too," Tiu told the Manila Times.

Thomas, listed at seven feet, was part of the Senegalese national squad that took home the bronze in the Fiba Afrobasket in 2013. At 35, he remains a force to be reckoned with and is expected to be a handful for Strong Group's front court, led by 6-foot-6 Renaldo Balkman, La Salle young 6-foot-6 stalwart Kevin Quiambao and 6-foot-5 Will Gozum of St. Benilde.

Before joining Dynamo-Lebanon, Early, a 6-8 scoring machine, averaged a huge stats line of 33.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in six games for the Taiwan HeroBears in the T1 League in Taiwan.

Shabazz Muhammad, one of three Strong Group imports with NBA experience, leads the team in scoring after averaging 29 points in the first three games.

Nick Young, a member of the 2018 NBA champion Golden State Warriors, sat out Strong Group's 26-point rout of Al Wahda due to an unspecified injury. The sweet-shooting Young could be reactivated against the Lebanese as Strong Group needs a veteran scorer outside Muhammad, while Fil-Am point guard Sedrick Barefield and Adamson's Jerom Lastimosa take turns in the playmaking chores.

2023-02-01T05:10:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd