Asian basketball

Zamboanga Valientes out to contend in Asian tilt, eye Dwight Howard as import

Roy Luarca

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Zamboanga Valientes out to contend in Asian tilt, eye Dwight Howard as import

BIG NUMBERS. Dwight Howard averages a double-double in the T1 League in Taiwan.


Hoping to be an instant title contender, the Zamboanga Valientes look to tap former NBA superstar Dwight Howard in the Asian basketball club tourney in China

MANILA, Philippines – The Zamboanga Valientes vie to put up a gallant stand when The Asian Tournament kicks off in China on Friday, April 19.

Team owner Junnie Navarro gave this assurance on Saturday, April 14, as he introduced the members of the Valientes to the media.

Heading Zamboanga’s roster is UAAP Season 85 MVP Malick Diouf of the University of the Philippines, former Far Eastern University star Mike Tolomia, Rudy Lingganay of the Batangas Tanduay Rum Masters, Peter Alfaro of NCAA men’s basketball champion San Beda, AJ Benson of College of St. Benilde, Jerome Ferrer, Das Esa, Joewish Gracia, Job Alcantara, Med Salim, and Franky Johnson. They were joined by Nick Evans, who reinforced Rain or Shine in last year’s Jones Cup.

Tapped to coach the Valientes is Bobedick delos Santos.

Already, the Valientes are competitive based on the results of their tuneup games against collegiate and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) teams.

The Valientes would be instant title contender, however, if negotiations for them to acquire former NBA superstar Dwight Howard pushes through.

Howard, a former top draft pick by the Orlando Magic who would end up as three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is receptive to the deal facilitated by the regional tournament organizers, according to Navarro.

The Valientes are no strangers to having talented imports.

In last year’s ABL Invitational, they brought along two-time NBA champion Mario Chalmers and NBA veteran Renaldo Balkman, who also saw action for the San Miguel Beer Alab Pilipinas.

The Valientes wound up fifth in the tournament, notching wins over the Macau Blackbears and the teams from Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.

Navarro said they are bent on improving on that performance in The Asian Tournament.

After China, the tournament will make stops in Malaysia, Taiwan, China, and the Philippines.

Navarro also revealed that the Valientes are likely to host the tournament grand finals. –

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