Asian basketball

Dwight Howard a headache? Not at all, says coach Tiu

Philip Matel

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Dwight Howard a headache? Not at all, says coach Tiu

MAIN MAN. Dwight Howard goes for a shot during practice with Strong Group.

STRONG GROUP ATHLETICS

‘I like the team so far… nobody complains, you know, even Dwight, he listens to everything we've asked,’ says Strong Group coach Charles Tiu of eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard

MANILA, Philippines – While some warned him that Dwight Howard would likely cause him headaches, Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu said it has been all good with the former NBA superstar.

Along with Gilas Pilipinas naturalized center Andray Blatche, Howard has provided quality leadership, Tiu said, as the team gears up for the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship on January 19 to 28.

“They’re a big plus to our team and really a big weight off my shoulder,” said Tiu.

“You know, when we talk to Dwight, when we signed him, a lot of people were saying, ‘he’s gonna give you so many problems,’ but he hasn’t given us any problem.”

In his near two-decade stint in the NBA, Howard had reportedly caused management and coaching headaches for some of his teams. 

But Tiu has seen none of that from the eight-time NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

“He’s been really supportive of what we’ve been doing,” said Tiu. 

Howard saw action with the the Taoyuan Leopards in the T1 League in Taiwan last year. But he surprisingly joined Strong Group through Blatche, even quipping that he got on board the team just to eat in the Filipino fast food chain Jollibee. 

Recently, Howard also met with Filipino sports icon Manny Pacquiao, playfully challenging the boxing superstar to a three-point contest.

With Howard and Blatche at the helm, along with former Oklahoma City defensive ace Andre Roberson, Strong Group stands as one of the favorites in the tournament featuring top Middle Eastern teams. 

“I like the team so far, what we’ve been seeing we have a great group of guys, nobody complains, you know, even Dwight, he listens to everything we’ve asked,” said Tiu. 

Other notable players include Mackenzie Moore, Justine Baltazar, UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, and JD Cagulangan, providing a mixture of veteran and young players.

Last year’s team, fielding a different lineup, got ousted in the quarterfinals as Ange Kouame, the centerpiece of the roster, fell ill.

“Modesty aside, we definitely want to win the championship right now,” said Tiu. – Rappler.com 

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