Quiambao added to Strong Group-PH crew
Strong Group-Philippines late added Gilas Pilipinas team member Kevin Quiambao before the team’s first batch set off for the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday in search of a second straight title at the National Championships. Dubai economy will end on Friday.
Ange Kouame was a late member of the all-star team after contracting dengue fever, and Quiambao was a ready addition as the Filipino opened up against the UAE national team.
“It was difficult without Ange. It changed everything for us,” said coach Charles Tiu, who led the last PH Team, Mighty Sports, to win the tournament in 2020 before the event was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. . “We built this team knowing we would have him, and his absence is really a game-changer.”
Two more matches in as many days are scheduled as Strong Group-PH takes on Al-Nasr Libya on Saturday before taking on Al-Wahda on Sunday. According to Tiu, the team will finish the group stage against Dynamo-Lebanon next Wednesday before a cross-semi-final where “teams are much tougher”.
Former National Basketball Association stars Nick Young, Shabazz Mohammad and Renaldo Balkman will still lead the team, with help coming from a talent roster of fellow stars led by Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa and JD Cagulangan’s JD Cagulangan. University of the Philippines leads.
Tiu also acknowledged the help of Philippine teams competing abroad, especially in the Middle East, where there are a large number of overseas Filipino workers.
“We definitely need Filipino fans to come and support us there. They are our sixth man all the time and we need every single one of them,” Tiu said.
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