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Kevin Quiambao gets interest from UAE national team

by Bryan Gadingan

KEVIN Quiambao has been a reliable local player for Strong Group Athletics in all three games at the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championships.

The Frank Lao-owned squad improved to 3-0 after a hard-fought 104-95 triumph over Lebanese team Homenetmen early Monday morning (PH time), in their third consecutive game.

Thanks to NBA veterans Dwight Howard, Andray Blatche and Andre Roberson, the squad now has targets on their backs, proving to be a formidable contender in the league. 

In their last game, former NBA champion Howard led the Filipinos to a 32-point, seven-rebound and five-block performance against a tenacious Lebanon team that led in scoring throughout most of the game.

While the spotlight is on the NBA players, reigning UAAP MVP Quiambao continues to thrive and maintain team-high averages while being a member of an already stacked team. 

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

After three games, the young gunner from Taft averaged 18.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists, a statline that outperformed that of the entire team’s imports.

The 6-ft-6 do-it-all forward of the Green Archers has already piqued the interests of prominent Middle Eastern club teams, thanks to his consistent attention-grabbing performances.

Aside from generating attention from numerous international clubs, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) federation has showed interest in naturalizing Quiambao, for their national team.

Photo Courtesy: Strong Group Athletics | Facebook

Nung kinausap nila ako at sinabi nila na gusto nila ako i-naturalize, siyempre hindi ako nakasalita,” said Quiambao in an interview with Tiebreaker Times about his conversation with officials from the UAE Basketball Association.

Hindi ko alam yung mararamdaman ko nun. Na-amaze ako at siyempre, na-overwhelm kasi ibang usapan na ito e. Hindi lang ito about playing sa club level. National team na ang usapan dito,” he shared excitedly.

Quiambao played only 21 minutes in SGA’s debut game against UAE but he still managed to score 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. 

In their game against Syria’s Al Wahda, the 22-year-old led SGA in scoring with 24 points and shot effectively from outside the arc, making 6-of-6 attempts.

Quiambao takes his game to heart, as he scored 19 points, four rebounds and four assists on the third night against the Homenetmen.

Photo Courtesy: Strong Group Athletics | Facebook

The Muntinlupa native may have dazzled UAE officials with his spectacular performances and good statistics. Quiambao initially believed that the UAE basketball officials were bluffing.

However, the federation has planned a lunch meeting with him for Tuesday (today), indicating that they were serious about their offer for the youngster. 

“I’II listen to it. Siyempre, nakakahiya naman if di ko sila pakinggan ‘di ba? If maganda yung plans nila for their national team, I’ll heavily consider it,” said Quiambao, who trained in Dubai during the pandemic.

However, if Quiambao changes nationalities, he might face a conflict because he has already played six games for the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national team. He may need to get permission from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) initially.

Tulad ng sabi ko kanina, ibang usapan na ito. Pero mahal ko ang bansa natin,” added Quiambao. 

Quiambao’s remark demonstrates his profound love for the Philippines. The UAE’s offer is simply confirmation that his style of play will continue to garner interest as he ages like a fine wine, receiving exposure in various competitions.



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