by Jonas Terrado
Mighty Sports-Go for Gold Philippines clinched the 41st William Jones Cup title with a 97-74 romp of host Taiwan-A in the tournament’s penultimate day at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City.
Renaldo Balkman posted 21 points, Eugene Phelps had 17 points and nine rebounds and Fil-Am Roosevelt Adams added 13 as Mighty leaned on a second quarter pullaway on its way to moving a win shy of sweeping the nine-day competition.
The Charles Tiu-coached squad, reinforced by five imports, secured the championship after improving to 7-0 with a game left against Taiwan-B Sunday at the same venue.
Mighty is assured of the crown even if it ends up tied with South Korea which sits in second place at 6-1 due to Tuesday’s 89-82 win over the FIBA World Cup-bound squad last Tuesday in Changhua.
It will be Mighty’s second championship in the Jones Cup and the sixth for a Philippine team since the tournament began in 1977.
Northern Consolidated ruled the 1981 and 1986 editions, the Philippine Centennial team won in 1998, Gilas Pilipinas reigned supreme in 2012 and Mighty bagged its first Jones Cup in 2016.
Mighty took control in the second quarter when it went on a 20-1 run as Adams, Phelps, Balkman and Zach Graham turned a 30-26 lead into 50-27 with less than a minute before halftime.
Ying-Chun Chen had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists for Taiwan-A, which fell to a tie for fourth with Japan at 5-2.
MIGHTY SPORTS 97 – Balkman 21, Phelps 17, Adams 13, Moore 10, Gray 8, Williams 8, Yeo 6, Graham 4, Black 3, Banal 3, Ndiaye 2, Brickman 2.
TAIWAN-A 74 – Y.C. Chen 19, C.W. Lee 13, Florveous 8, Y.H. Chou 7, L.M. Hu 7, P.C. Chou 5, Liu 4, Kuo 3, Su 0, W.C. Lee 0.
Quarters: 24-14; 50-32; 72-49; 97-74.