LAMAR Odom said he is eager to get in the best shape possible when he represents the Philippines in the Dubai International Basketball Tournament next month.
Odom, tapped by Mighty Sports as an import in the February 1 to 9 showpiece, has been in training for two days now and said he is working harder than ever as he is still far from the shape he wants to be.
“I’m still trying to get in shape. I have a lot to go,” said the former Los Angeles Laker at the end of Friday’s practice in Makati City.
On Friday, Odom was joined by resident Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, Jett Manuel, Papi Sarr, Justin Gutang, and ex-pro Joseph Yeo.
“It was good. I think we are getting better everyday. We are getting ready to compete to represent the Philippines,” said Odom.
Odom is also making a big impression on his teammates.
“The good thing about him is he is so coachable,” said Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu. “He is just one of the guys. He wants to be part of the team. And I appreciate that from a guy who has pretty much done it all in the NBA. It’s a matter of him getting that basketball game shape back.”
Tiu also said he is patient with Odom since the NBA champion hasn’t played competitive basketball for quite a while.
“I plan to break him slowly. Let’s face it. He hasn’t played basketball in about five years. He has been training by himself but in the game style, game rhythm, that hasn’t really been the case for him. I have to be patient and understanding. Hopefully, after a week, he picks up more.”
Odom is confident the team can reach its full potential even with the short preparation for the Dubai tournament.
“We are going to be good. We are going to compete. We are still learning each other’s game. We are still getting comfortable with each other’s game as time goes along,” Odom said.
Odom said he is also appreciative of the Filipino people who have welcomed him with open arms.
“The Philippine people have been great. They have been very welcoming,” Odom said.
The 39-year-old is open to any options in basketball including playing in the PBA and even in the NBA.
“Who knows? I’ll see where God takes me,” Odom said.