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MANILA, Philippines – Amid a stellar performance in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship, Strong Group Athletics swingman Kevin Quiambao received a naturalization offer from the United Arab Emirates national basketball team.
And it didn’t surprise Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu at all.
“Kevin can really play. He’s got a great future ahead of him,” Tiu said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk.
“There would be way more opportunities for Kevin, even a higher level of basketball. That’s how good we think he is. And he’s been really impressive.”
Quiambao, the UAAP Season 86 Most Valuable Player has been leading the charge for a stacked squad filled with NBA talent such as Dwight Howard, Andre Roberson, and Andray Blatche.
The 23-year-old Quiambao had been averaging 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists with an immaculate 5-0 record thus far in the tournament.
Tiu confirmed Quiambao’s UAE naturalization offer in the television interview on Tuesday, January 23.
“That is true. They’ve actually met with him… They’ve shown a lot of interest in him,” said Tiu.
Quiambao – who is playing under La Salle head coach Topex Robinson, who’s also serving as deputy for Strong Group – has already committed to play for the Green Archers next year in a UAAP title-retention bid for Season 87.
However, if the champion forward suddenly makes a move to go professional, Tiu said he will be behind him.
“Whatever he decides to do, we fully support him. It’s exciting for Kevin,” said Tiu. “I hope he can continue his stellar play and he’s going to make waves. To me, he is too good for college basketball in the Philippines already.”
In a separate post, Tiu also shot down rumors of Quiambao possibly being pursued by the New York Knicks to play for their NBA Summer League roster in July.
“Can I just say, there is nothing about Kevin Quiambao and the Knicks right now. 0 (zero),” Tiu posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday, January 25.
The online buzz floated when Strong Group’s public relations officer said in a now-deleted Instagram post that there were initial talks for a Knicks opportunity. — Rappler.com