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Strong Group adds young guns Lastimosa, Lopez, Cagulangan, Oczon

Strong Group continues to build its team for the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship.

The team owned by Jacob Lao has added four collegiate stalwarts in Jerom Lastimosa, Francis Lopez, JD Cagulangan, and Miguel Oczon to the team that will look to retain the title for the Philippines.

Mighty Sports became the first non-Arab team to win the tournament back in 2020.

For head coach Charles Tiu, having Lastimosa and Oczon share the backcourt in an international competition will help boost their stock.UAAP-MBB-Jerom-Lastimosa-ADU-1 Strong Group adds young guns Lastimosa, Lopez, Cagulangan, Oczon Basketball News  - philippine sports news

“Jerom had a great UAAP season, and I’m excited to have him,” Tiu said about the PSBank Bankable Player of UAAP Season 85.

“I love scoring guards and we are thankful that they allowed him to play for us. would be nice for him to get some international exposure too.”

“He had a great year for us at Benilde and we want to continue to develop him and give him experience. Hopefully, he will improve playing with and against some great players,” Tiu added about Oczon.

Meanwhile, Lao is glad to have both Cagulangan and Lopez in his team.

The three were able to share the court in La Salle Green Hills a few years back with him and Cagulangan forming the Greenies’ backcourt during their triumph in NCAA Season 93.NCAA-Season-93-LSGH-Greenies-champions Strong Group adds young guns Lastimosa, Lopez, Cagulangan, Oczon Basketball News  - philippine sports news

“Well, it’s sort of a mini-reunion of some sort for the LSGH boys,” expressed Lao. “We all know JD can make big shots and lead a championship team he’s been doing it for a while now, so I’m just excited for him to showcase his talents and gets to finally play out his dream of representing the country.

“For Francis, it’s just constant growth for international competition, we all know what he can do, very superb athlete in his own way. So really thankful for Gilas that they allowed him because his experience will help the team especially since there are a lot of first-timers,” he added about the Gilas cadet.

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The two are also grateful to the UAAP and the NCAA for allowing the quintet to join the team.

Also composing the squad are Nick Young, Shabazz Muhammad, Angelo Kouame, Renaldo Balkman, Sedrick Barefield, Justine Baltazar, Will Gozum, BJ Andrade, and Inand Fornilos.

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