Renaldo Balkman celebrated his birthday in a very special way Sunday as he helped power Mighty Sports-Go For Gold Philippines to a 94-59 drubbing of Japan and into its third straight win in the Jones Cup at the Changhua County Gym in Changhua, Taiwan.
Balkman, who turned 35, had another solid output of 27 points and 12 rebounds for the country’s representative to the annual tournament.
Mighty Sports-Go For Gold is looking to win its second title in four years.
“It’s a good birthday show for Renaldo and he inspired the rest to step up,” said head coach Charles Tiu. “We did not start well but we managed to straighten up things in the second half.”
For the first time in three games, Mighty Sports, also backed by HealthCube, trailed early, 12-5, but when Balkman and Eugene Phelps started to make their shots inside, they began to pull away and settle for a 38-26 halftime lead.
A slam by Balkman and a three-point shot by Roosevelt Adams to open the third quarter quickly changed the complexion of the game as Mighty padded its lead to 23 points.
Mighty Sports highlighted its onslaught by burying four triples, including two from crafty Fil-Am guard Jason Brickman who finished with eight points.
Fil-Am Mikey Williams enhanced his resume by contributing 17 points, while Phelps had 19 in another show of force. He and Brickman are knocking at the PBA door.
Mighty Sports battles winless University of British Columbia-Canada today before taking on the dangerous Korea side on Tuesday.
The Japanese fell to 2-1.
MIGHTY SPORTS 94 — Balkman 27, Phelps 19, Williams 17, Brickman 8, Moore 8, Adams 6, Black 4, Graham 3, Ndiaye 2, Gray 0, Banal 0, Wongchuking 0.
JAPAN 59 — Ogawa 10, Koh 10, Hashimoto 8, Ando Sh. 8, Schafer 8, Hoshino 6, Ando Se. 4, Toews 1, Hiraiwa 0, Nakamura 0, Harimoto 0.
Quarters: 22-17; 38-26; 69-36; 94-59.