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Will Williams join Strong Group?

MIKEY Williams has yet to commit to Strong Group in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship.  | TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

Strong Group is looking to recruit Mikey Williams to join its already loaded roster in the 33rd Dubai International Basketball Championship.

But there is one major problem: Williams has yet to come up with a full commitment.

In a series of messages to Daily Tribune, Strong Group head coach Charles Tiu admitted that they have been wooing the hot-shooting former TNT Tropang Giga to join them in the prestigious invitational event set from 19 to 26 January at the Al Nasr Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He said although the 32-year-old Williams already showed interest, he has yet to sign on the dotted lines, prompting Strong Group to plot its Plan B in case no deal will be reached.

Playing for Strong Group could be Williams’ golden ticket back to the Philippine Basketball Association.

Although signed a three-year deal with the Tropang Giga, he tried to renegotiate the terms that resulted to a deadlock prior the start of the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.

Without a deal on the table, the Tropang Giga moved on and terminated the remainder of Williams’ contract while still keeping his rights to make sure that he won’t commit to other PBA squads.

Now, the Strong Group is giving him another chance but it appears that Williams, who remains in Los Angeles, will not take it.

“We’re still waiting,” Tiu, the genius behind the revival of College of Saint Benilde in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, said.

“Actually, it’s supposed to be a go. I just don’t know why he won’t commit.”

Strong Group will be parading a super team in the Dubai tourney that will be participated by club teams from Libya, Lebanon, Monaco, Egypt and Iran.

Eight-time National Basketball Association Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard will man the middle while former Oklahoma City Thunder defender Andre Roberson and former Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Andray Blatche will patrol the paint.

Former Tropang Giga import McKenzie Moore is also on the roster as well as local stars Kevin Quiambao and Francis Escandor of De La Salle University and JD Cagulangan of University of the Philippines as well as Saint Benilde recruits Tony Ynot, Justine Sanchez and Allen Liwag.

Joining Tiu on the bench are former Olympian Brian Goorjian of Australia as team consultant as well as newly-crowned University Athletic Association of the Philippines champion Topex Robinson as chief deputy.

Howard, Blatche, Roberson and Moore are already in town and are expected to delight media in an open workout on Wednesday.

Still, Tiu is looking at the possibility of having Williams, who averaged 22 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists to emerge as Most Valuable Player in the best-of-seven finals series between the Tropang Giga and Barangay Ginebra in the previous Governors’ Cup.

“He was my first pick,” Tiu admitted, adding that they have been negotiating with Williams for almost a month now.

Tiu said if no deal will be reached with Williams in the next 24 to 48 hours they have to explore their other options to complete their backcourt, including former Gilas gunner Jordan Heading.

“We’re looking at giving him one to two days max. Maybe tonight,” Tiu said.

“If not, we’ll move on. We’re looking at Heading. We haven’t really decided but he’s definitely an option.”


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