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MANILA, Philippines – Barely two months after winning the UAAP Season 86 Most Valuable Player and the men’s basketball championship with La Salle, Kevin Quiambao seeks to level up even further in his play – courtesy of bona fide NBA talent.
From playing with collegiate teammates, Quiambao now has the luxury of learning under eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, defensive specialist Andre Roberson, and Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Andray Blatche.
“They hold a huge influence over me knowing that I still have a young career, I learn a lot every day, I just take everything I could learn,” Quiambao told Rappler during Strong Group’s practice session in Makati on Wednesday, January 10.
“I just relish the learning process and whatever they say, I just take advantage of it and I will take their advice for my whole career,” he added.
The Strong Group squad will see action on January 19 to 28 in the 2024 Dubai International Basketball Championship, a pocket tournament featuring some of the best teams in the Middle East.
Still with his La Salle mentor coach Topex Robinson – who’s serving as Strong Group’s deputy – the 6-foot-4 Quiambao is slowly adjusting to the rigors of international basketball as a wing.
“As early as December, coach Charles (Tiu) told me that I cannot play as a four (forward) because it’s the international level,” said Quiambao, who became the first local player since 2015 to earn the UAAP MVP honors after pouring 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.9 steals during the eliminations.
“I’m really a wing, I developed [my skills] every day, adjusted everything to becoming a wing.”
Watch out, UAAP. — Rappler.com