Strong Group adds 3 young players for Jones Cup bid

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Strong Group adds 3 young players for Jones Cup bid
Allen Liwag (34)
FilOil EcoOil Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- Three young guns are joining the Strong Group Athletics (SGA) in the upcoming 43rd William Jones Cup.

Letran Knights rookie Jonathan Manalili, along with College of St. Benilde Blazers Allen Liwag and Tony Ynot, are joining the team bound for Taipei, Taiwan, the team announced Friday.

"Having Jonathan, Allen, and Tony in our team is our way of helping develop the future of Philippine basketball. We always make sure to have young players in our team to give them an early glimpse of what international basketball is like," SGA president Jacob Lao said.

Manalili was the NCAA Season 99 juniors’ Most Valuable Player as he led the Letran Squires to back-to-back championships before committing to the Knights.

Ynot and Liwag, meanwhile, already played for SGA during the 2024 Dubai Basketball International Tournament.

The three came up big for their respective teams in the recently-concluded FilOil EcoOil ECJ preseason cup.

Manalili averaged 11.0 points, 5.9 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals in the tourney, where the Knights finished in fourth place, the highest among NCAA teams.

Liwag and Ynot, on the other hand, averaged 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds and 8.7 points, 3.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, respectively.

Head coach Charles Tiu said that the experience of the three would greatly benefit them in the long run.

"This will not only prepare Allen, Tony, and Jonathan for the upcoming NCAA Season 100 tournament but will also help them have a bright future in basketball," Tiu stressed.

Aside from them, SGA is currently made up of Kiefer Ravena, Rhenz Abando, Angelo Kouame, RJ Abarrientos, Jordan Heading, DJ Fenner, Chris McCollough, Caelan Tiongson and Tajuan Agee.

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