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MANILA, Philippines – Former NBA champion and eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, January 7, and is set to prepare with Strong Group Athletics for the 2024 Dubai International Basketball Championship this January 19 to 28.
In a short video posted across his social media platforms, the 38-year-old center expressed his excitement after landing in Manila, while Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Andray Blatche waved in the background.
“Guess what y’all? We finally made it in the Philippines!” said Howard, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the No. 1 overall pick in 2004.
Blatche and Howard are set to join fellow former NBA player Andre Roberson in the massively stacked Strong Group squad that also boasts American guard McKenzie Moore, UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, UAAP champion JD Cagulangan, and coaches Brian Goorjian, Topex Robinson, and Charles Tiu.
Like the previous year when it fielded ex-NBA players Nick Young and Shabazz Muhammad, Strong Group is again a heavy favorite in the annual weeklong pocket tournament that features some of the Middle East’s best teams.
The Frank Lao-owned squad, however, looks to erase a humiliating early exit in the last tournament and go for gold this time around with Howard – inarguably its best recruited import yet. – Rappler.com