FORMER Gilas Pilipinas sniper Jordan Heading and PBA Draft prospect Caelan Tiongson have been tapped by the Strong Group Athletics (SGA) as its first signees for the upcoming 43rd William Jones Cup.

This will be Mr. Heading’s return to the SGA after a stint in the Dubai International Basketball Championship while Mr. Tiongson marks his comeback with a Philippine team since playing for the defunct Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.

Mr. Tiongson is also expected to utilize this international stint to prepare for this year’s PBA Draft as one of the prized Fil-foreign prospects. Head coach Charles Tiu looks forward to having the ace backcourt duo as SGA marches on to Taiwan as the country’s representative for the regional invitational tourney slated on July 12 to 21.

“Jordan was an automatic choice for me once I found out he’d be available to play. We loved how he played for us in Dubai, and now he gets to go back to his original shooting guard spot to complement our point guards,” said Mr. Tiu, who will be joined by veteran tactician Rakjo Toroman in steering SGA.

“I’ve been in touch with Caelan for a while, helping him figure out his next moves before joining the PBA Draft. We figured this would be a great opportunity for him to remind people how good he is,” he added.

Mr. Heading is currently strutting his stuff for the West Adelaide Bearcats in Australia’s NBL1 Central with averages of 19.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds while Mr. Tiongson came off a stint with the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League with norms of 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds.

SGA, out to win the country’s seventh Jones Cup title, will announce the remaining players to complete its roster soon that is anticipated to feature a bevy of local standouts and top-caliber imports once again like when it played in Dubai.

The Philippine club had fielded NBA veterans Dwight Howard, Andre Roberson, UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, MPBL MVP Justine Baltazar, JD Cagulangan and ex-Gilas reinforcement Andray Blatche, en route to a runner-up finish behind champion Al Riyado of Lebanon. — John Bryan Ulanday