Tiu rues officiating as Strong Group gets boot in Dubai cagefest

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Tiu rues officiating as Strong Group gets boot in Dubai cagefest
Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu
NCAA / GMA file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Coach Charles Tiu expressed frustration after the Strong Group Philippines fell in the quarterfinals of the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship after a 106-97 loss to Lebanon's Al Riyadi on Thursday (early Friday morning, Manila time).

After finishing group play with a 3-1 slate, the Philippine team fell flat to begin their knockout match with Al Riyadi, trailing 33-19 at the end of the first quarter.

Despite best efforts led by former NBA players Shabazz Muhammad and Nick Young, along with timely contributions from Jerom Lastimosa, Justine Baltazar and BJ Andrade, Strong Group could not complete the comeback as Amir Saoud exploded for 41 points for the Lebanese.

On Twitter, head coach Tiu said that exiting the tiff early was "painful and frustrating".

"Painful and frustrating loss for us. Couldn’t stop Saoud today no matter what we did. Just too experienced for our team right now. Offense wasn’t the problem but couldn’t get stops," Tiu wrote.

He also criticized the game's officiating, where he felt that his team was given the short end of the stick more often than not.

"Didn’t help that we got cooked badly. I don’t know what game the refs we’re watching," he said.

There were multiple foul calls in the game that Tiu and the rest of his wards clearly didn't agree with, as they were visibly frustrated at the officials.

Still, Tiu ended the night with a message of thanks to the Filipinos who supported them in Dubai and across the world at home. Tiu promised a bounce back as well.

"Thank you to our Filipino fans for supporting us. We are sorry for the loss. We will come back stronger for sure," he said.


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