Former NBA star Nick Young has finally arrived in the country to join the rest of the Strong Group team that has less than three weeks to ramp up its preparation and develop chemistry in time for the 32nd Dubai International Championship from Jan. 27 to Feb. 5.
The former Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors forward landed in the country on Monday, Jan. 9 along with fellow NBA player and former San Miguel import Shabazz Muhammad.
“Just landed in the Philippines,” read a Tweet by the one-time NBA champion, who already met with Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu.
“Welcome to Manila, Nick Young and Shabazz Muhammad! Let’s kill it in Dubai,” wrote Tiu while posting a photo with the two NBA players.
Strong Group owner Jacob Lao was likewise delighted with the arrival of the two imports, believing they will both play key roles in their bid to keep the country’s dominance in the annual event won by Mighty Sports the last time in 2020.
Young will be reinforcing a Strong Group side which is looking to retain the title in the tournament which was last won by then-Philippine representative, Mighty Sports in 2020 before the annual tilt took a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Young is joining fellow NBA player and former PBA import Renaldo Balkman along with Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Ange Kouame and Fil-American guard Sedrick Barefield.
Also named in the lineup are Seoul Samsung-bound Justine Baltazar, NCAA MVP and College of St. Benilde forward Will Gozum, and former Ateneo Blue Eagles BJ Andrade and Inand Fornillos.
Tiu is hopeful they will adapt to his system before they fly to Dubai and face other basketball clubs from Dubai, Lebanon and other Middle East countries.