Given the limited time to prepare the team, coach Charles Tiu is hoping that former Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom and Barangay Ginebra resident import Justine Brownlee are in their fighting forms when Mighty Sports sees action in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship next week.
“That’s what I’m wishing for when I’ll see them on Wednesday as they will be up against teams who have been playing together for years. We have little time to prepare,” said Tiu. “Given the situation and toughness of the competition, there’s a possibility that they will play extended minutes on the floor.”
Brown arrived yesterday, while Odom is due today as the team—co-owned by Alex Wongchuking—makes its first official practice together tomorrow for the Feb. 1 to 9 tournament in Dubai.
Odom, 39, has been posting his training regimen on his Instagram account, while Brownlee looks good in his video message to the team, backed by SMDC, Go For Gold, Healthcube and Oriental Group.
“We will play almost every day so it’s important na may stamina na sila,” said Wongchuking noting the team will play against the best from the Middle East, including Lebanon and Jordan.
Wongchuking also added that Filipino community in the premier city of oil-rich United Arab Emirates is now abuzz with the team’s arrival and vowed its all-out support, just like what it did two years ago.
Aside from Brownlee, also part of the team two years ago were Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu and center Beau Belga and former amateur standout Kiefer Ravena.
Beefing up the team are Chinese Basketball Association veteran Randolf Morris and Fil-Am players Jeremiah Gray and Roosevelt Adams.
Also joining the team are former PBA star Joseph Yeo, Gab Banal, University of the Philippines playmaker Juan Gomez de Liano, La Salle’s Santi Santillan, College of St. Benilde’s Justin Gutang, NU’s Troy Rike and ex-Ginebra player Jet Manuel.
Veteran coach Jong Uichico will be Tiu’s assistant, along with Woody Co.