Charles Tiu is Leading the Philippines' Jones Cup Resurgence

Charles Tiu: The Architect of Philippines’ Jones Cup Resurgence

Strong Group Athletics Coach is ready to lead his team back to glory at the Jones Cup—and history has proven that he can see it through.

With Strong Group Athletics (SGA) preparing to represent the Philippines in Taiwan, Coach Charles Tiu’s vision for the team reflects a blend of proven strategies and fresh approaches. Tiu’s track record of success and innovative coaching philosophy set the stage for what could be a triumphant return to a tournament he has already conquered twice before.

In 2016 and 2019, he orchestrated back-to-back championships for Mighty Sports, etching his name in the annals of Philippine basketball history. Now, as he returns to the tournament after a five-year hiatus, the 35-year-old mentor is hungry to complete a personal hat-trick.

“It gives me confidence knowing how the tournament works, knowing how to balance players, knowing how to prepare,” he shared with The GAME. “I’m hoping that it helps us prepare more in terms of scheduling all the logistics.”

His coaching journey began unexpectedly in 2009 when he was just 21 years old. Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, who was then leading the Philippine national team, offered Tiu an assistant coaching position.

This opportunity sparked a 15-year coaching career that has seen Charles Tiu travel the world, accumulating knowledge and experience that he now brings to SGA.

Back to the basics

At the heart of his approach is an unwavering commitment to fundamentals. This focus on the basics isn’t just about skill development; it’s about building a foundation that can withstand the pressure of international competition.

He plans to utilize the team’s strengths by capitalizing on their wing talent and overall depth. Using this approach will be crucial in navigating the round-robin format of the Jones Cup, where consistency across multiple games will be key to success.

“We want to try to play up-tempo offensively and then defensively because we don’t have too much time to prepare. We’ll just keep it simple and hopefully use our size because I think we have decent size in our team and use that to really give the opponents a hard time,” Tiu shared.

Charles Tiu coaching Strong Group Athletics for Jones Cup
(Photo credit: Julius Domondon via SGA on Facebook.)

The coach is also mindful of the strong competition SGA will face, including teams like the Ukraine national team and a talented American squad. To counter this, Tiu is focusing on thorough preparation and building team chemistry during their practice sessions.

Bringing out the local guns

His experience has also shaped a coaching philosophy that values adaptability and maximizes the strengths of his roster. This year, Tiu is particularly excited about the depth of local talent at his disposal, a departure from previous teams that relied more heavily on imports.

“We’re lucky that there are a lot of local guys who are available in their off-seasons. It all kind of worked out. I’m happy with the local cast that we have. It should be a bit more challenging, but hopefully, with our preparation, we can really compete for a championship,” Tiu noted.

“I told them, offensively, we give them a lot of freedom,” he explained. “We have a structure in what we want to do. But everybody’s given an opportunity to make plays. We will go to the strengths of our players. We have shooters, we have guys who are great in the pick and roll. We have guys who can post up. We plan to utilize that.”

With a roster that includes PBA draft applicants Dave Ildefonso and Caelan Tiongson, Gilas Pilipinas guard Jordan Heading, and collegiate standouts like Tony Ynot and Jonathan Manalili, Tiu has at his disposal a blend of experience and youthful energy.

He shared that Kevin Quiambao, SJ Belangel, and Kai Ballungay were also supposed to play for SGA, but the three didn’t push through due to scheduling conflicts.

Despite these minor setbacks, Tiu remains confident in his team’s potential. However, he’s under no illusions about the challenges that lie ahead. The road to Jones Cup glory is fraught with obstacles, yet his confidence remains unshaken in the face of tough opposition.

As SGA prepares to fly out on July 12, just a day before their tournament opener, the basketball world watches with bated breath.

Can Charles Tiu lead his team to yet another triumph? If history is any indication, it would be unwise to bet against him.

Banner images by Julius Domondon via SGA on Facebook.

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