Dwight Howard to lead Strong Group Philippines in Dubai tilt | Inquirer Sports

Dwight Howard to lead Strong Group Philippines in Dubai tilt

/ 01:03 PM January 03, 2024

Dwight Howard

FILE–Dwight Howard #39 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a play against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on April 10, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines–After making a stop in Taiwan, Dwight Howard will beef up Philippine side Strong Group in the Dubai International Tournament set later this month.

Strong Group Philippines coach Charles Tiu said Howard will banner the team that also includes former Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Andray Blatche and ex-Oklahoma City Thunder swingman Andre Roberson.

“I like what I heard from him (Howard) when we spoke on the phone so let’s see how it goes,” said Tiu in a text message to INQUIRER.net on Wednesday. “For now, he’s just in for one tournament. He still wants to go back to the NBA.”

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Tiu said Blatche, who represented the Philippines in several Fiba tournaments, played a big role helping Strong Group secure the services of Howard.

“I spoke to him in early December and we came to an agreement right away. Andray Blatche helped me talk to him so I’m sure that was a big factor,” Tiu said.

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard #39 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates their victory over the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on April 10, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images/AFP

According to Tiu, the three former NBA veterans are set to arrive in the country this weekend to train along with the other members of the squad. He also expects Roberson to provide significant contributions, especially on the defensive end.

“Andre Roberson is known to be a workhorse and lockdown defender. I believe he can contribute offensively at this level, and his great team-oriented attitude will make him an excellent fit,” Tiu said.

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The tournament is scheduled from January 19 to 28.

UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, La Salle’s Francis Escandor and University of the Philippines’ JD Cagulangan are among the locals on the team.

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The other players on the roster will be named “soon” before the team flies to Dubai, as per Tiu.

Howard, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-NBA First Team member, played 18 seasons in the NBA. He won an NBA title with the Lakers in 2020.

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In November of last year, Howard made the stunning move to play for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League.

TAGS: Dwight Howard, Strong Group

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