Strong Group-PH vows to keep on fighting in Dubai tilt despite limited preps
MANILA, Philippines — With Kevin Quiambao being a last-minute replacement for Ange Kouame, Strong Group Realty vows to give its best to represent the country despite the limited preparation in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship campaign starting on Friday.
Strong Group coach Charles Tiu confirmed on Wednesday that Quiambao, the UAAP Season 85 top rookie from La Salle will replace Kouame, who was ruled out of the tournament due to dengue.
The team considered Justine Brownlee and Andray Blatche but both were not available.
Tiu admitted their squad had a limited build-up for the tournament, barely getting a complete attendance in practice. But he promises that Strong Group will try its best to win games.
“We are basically a college team with imports. We will try to win it but it’s been tough. Only today we were complete for the first time. Guys were sick or injured,” Tiu said in a message.
Some members of the team fly to Dubai on Wednesday, followed by the rest of the delegation on Thursday.
The Strong Group, owned by former Ateneo Blue Eagle Jacob Lao, opens its Dubai tilt against the United Arab Emirates national team on Friday at 11 p.m. (Manila time).
Former NBA players Nick Young, Renaldo Balkman, and Shabazz Muhammad lead the collegiate-laden squad, also composed of Korean Basketball League-bound Justine Baltazar.
Completing the squad are Adamson star Jerom Lastimosa, reigning NCAA MVP Will Gozum and Migs Oczon of College of St. Benilde, University of the Philippines’ newest recruit Francis LeBron Lopez and his teammate JD Cagulangan, Blue Eagles BJ Andrade and Inand Fornillos, and Sedrick Barefield.