Former NBA Vet Nick Young Gets Massive Support From Filipino Talent Ahead Of Dubai Tournament


nick young lakers 2016
Nick Young during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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  • Nick Young is part of the Philippines’ team in the Dubai International Basketball Championship
  • Young will be teammates with former NBA veterans Shabazz Muhammad and Renaldo Balkman
  • Head coach Charles Tiu speaks highly of what Young brings to the team

Former NBA veteran Nick Young surprised the international basketball scene when it was announced that he had signed on with the Philippines-based Strong Group ahead of the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship.

The International Basketball Times was able to witness the practice they held behind closed doors in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, January 12 and speak with team personnel about Young’s impact on the team thus far.

“This is our third practice together with him, actually. Whatever you guys see on TV, that’s how he really is in person. He’s very energetic and chill to be around with, but he’s also very nice and approachable. He’s not the snobbish type at all,” said collegiate standout BJ Andrade.

His comments were supported by fellow college teammate and Strong Group team owner Jacob Lao, who noted that the entire team—especially the young guys aiming to play abroad—is keeping an open ear to what Young has to tell them.

“You’d want to glean knowledge from him (Young) since that guy came from the NBA and he’s come from good coaches, good systems,” Lao told IBTimes.

Serious yet lighthearted, intense yet jovial. These are some of the words that can be used to describe the mood during practice as they work on growing their team chemistry.

Young, in particular, showed off his entire arsenal as he swished the ball through the net with ease–whether it was on step-back threes, catch-and-shoot opportunities or off his own efforts.

Aside from his world-famous scoring abilities, Young, 37, was more than happy to spread the wealth as he found collegiate sharpshooters like Migs Oczon and Jerom Lastimosa wide-open to create scoring opportunities for others.

The former Los Angeles Lakers guard was also very animated in his interaction with his new teammates, particularly with fellow NBA veteran Shabazz Muhammad.

Muhammad, who served as an import in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), was more than happy to be reunited with his opponent and even recalled a fond memory of their time together in the big leagues.

“When I heard Nick was gonna play with me, I was really excited about that. He’s been with the Lakers, he played with Kobe [Bryant] and I got to share the court with him and Kobe–especially when Kobe passed Michael Jordan on the scoring list, so that was pretty special for me. We both got to share that moment, but now we get to go play [in Dubai] and hopefully win this,” a gleeful Muhammad shared.

The team will again be coached by Charles Tiu, who led the Philippines to the Dubai title in 2020 and had glowing praise about Young as well.

“Nick Young’s been a good guy so far. No complaints. He works hard, he tries his best,” Tiu mentioned.

“He can still shoot, of that, there’s no doubt, but the other aspects of his game are still slowly coming out as he gets in shape. We still have some time to do so.”

Bannered by Young and Muhammad, Strong Group is composed of the Philippines’ brightest young stars like Andrade, Oczon, Lastimosa, Korean Basketball League-bound Justine Baltazar, naturalized Filipino Ange Kouame and former PBA import Renaldo Balkman as they seek to defend their Dubai crown.

Nick Young
Nick Young, photographed at a press conference ahead of the March 30, 2016, Los Angeles Lakers game against the Miami Heat in Los Angeles, slammed a fan on Twitter for mocking his grammar.
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