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MANILA, Philippines – Three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard said he is not closing the door on the PBA, only if it reconsiders its height limit on imports.
“I’m eligible for the PBA. So, I think they gotta change the height requirements because I’m 6’9” without shoes,” Howard told reporters during Strong Group’s practice at Urdaneta Village in Makati on Wednesday, January 10.
“I hope they do that so guys like Dray can come back here and play as well, you know we want to play in the PBA,” the former NBA star added, referring to the 6-foot-11 Andray Blatche, who’s also a Gilas naturalized player.
“If they change the height requirements, maybe we’ll see twin towers in the Philippines.”
Currently, Asia’s oldest pro basketball league allows a maximum height of 6-foot-9 without shoes for the Commissioner’s Cup and 6-foot-6 for the Governors’ Cup.
Howard, along with former Oklahoma City Thunder defensive stalwart Andre Roberson, Mackenzie Moore, and Blatche, were present in the practice session as the team gears up for the 2024 Dubai International Basketball Championship on January 19 to 28.
Other attendees were UAAP Season 86 Most Valuable Player Kevin Quiambao, La Salle teammate Francis Escandor, and UP’s JD Cagulangan.
Rounding out the 11 were MPBL MVP Justine Baltazar, and the College of St. Benilde (CSB) trio of Allen Liwag, Justine Sanchez, and Tony Ynot.
Former Gilas Pilipinas player Jordan Heading is expected to join the team on Thursday, January 11, to complete the 12-man roster.
Howard, a key member of the 2020 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, raved about representing the basketball-crazed nation for the first time.
“We’ve been really focused on what our mission is, and why I’m here, so everybody’s locked in and I really love the energy from all the guys, everybody’s focused,” said Howard.
“They all understand how important this tournament is, not just for us to win but for their future career in basketball,” he said of the pocket tournament featuring some of the top teams in the Middle East.
“It’s been a great opportunity and I’m super happy that I got a chance to be a part of it.”
The loaded team, coached by CSB mentor Charles Tiu, is expected to leave for Dubai on January 17. — Rappler.com