Quiambao ecstatic to learn from ex-NBA stars in Strong Group stint

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Quiambao ecstatic to learn from ex-NBA stars in Strong Group stint
Kevin Quiambao (17)
Strong Group Athletics

MANILA, Philippines — Newly minted UAAP champion Kevin Quiambao is relishing a unique opportunity to rub shoulders with veteran NBA talent as he trains with the Strong Group Athletics (SGA) team bound for the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship.

Quiambao, who joins the select team with college coach Topex Robinson, is teammates with players he only dreamed of ever getting to play with — as former NBA players Dwight Howard, Andray Blatche and Andre Roberson reinforce the Philippine team.

“Sobrang laking influence nila sa akin knowing na ayun nga, yung career ko is sobrang young pa and sobrang dami kong natututunan sa kanila, every day,” Quiambao told media during the team’s open practice in Makati last Wednesday. 

“Every day, gine-gel ko lang yung pwede kong matutunan and ayun, take lang ako sa learning process palagi and kung ano yung sasabihin nila sa akin, i-take ko lang and take advantage ko.”

Only in his second year in the UAAP, Quiambao was not only able to win the championship, but also take home the Most Valuable Player award, a huge follow-up to his Rookie of the Year plum in UAAP Season 85.

With another opportunity to grow his game, and with the bigger goal of representing the Philippines in a high-level tournament, the 22-year-old winger is not going to let anything past him.

“Ito yung dadalhin ko sa buong career ko, yung mga payo na binibigay nila sa akin,” he said.

Quiambao stayed coy at the end of Season 86, on whether or not he’ll be returning to La Salle for his remaining years of eligibility. But according to him, whatever he gets to learn with his stint in SGA, he’ll be sharing with his fellow Green Archers.

“Sobrang saya kasi fresh [from a] championship, maglalaro kagad ako as early as January. And, ayun kung ano matututunan ko dito dadalin ko lang sa La Salle and take advantage ko kung ano meron kami dito,” he said.

Quiambao’s La Salle teammate Francis Escandor is also part of the team headed by DLS-College of Saint Benilde’s Charles Tiu.

SGA begins its campaign in Dubai at the Al Nasr Club next week.

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