MARINERONG Pilipino coach Yong Garcia does not mind that Fil-Am forward Jamie Malonzo is suiting up for Mighty Sports-Philippines in the 31st Dubai International Basketball Championship.
The important thing, according to Garcia, is that the 6-foot-6 Malonzo had signed a contract with the Skippers last Jan. 21, a day after they tabbed the former La Salle standout as the No. 2 pick overall in the PBA D-League draft.
“Yes, nag-sign na siya (Malonzo) sa amin,” Garcia told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“Last Tuesday siya pumirma. Nauna commitment niya sa Mighty bago namin siya nakuha.
Sana lang madali siyang maka-adjust sa team.”
Garcia is convinced the high-flying Malonzo can find his footing with Marinerong Pilipino.
The Dubai joust started yesterday and will end on Feb. 1.
“I think he can adjust in time naman para sa D-League,” related Garcia.
“Hindi pa siya nakaka-ensayo with the team, last Tuesday siya nag-sign, tapos last Wednesday sila umalis papunta ng Dubai.”
As the only club team in the season-opening Aspirant’s Cup set to unfold on Feb. 13 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, Garcia admitted that whipping his charges into one cohesive unit gnaws at him.
“Okay naman ang team, we’re waiting pa sa ibang players, sa ngayon hindi pa kami kumpleto,” said Garcia. “Sana sa Monday (next week) ay mabuo na ang team.”
Marinerong Pilipino advanced to the finals of last season’s Foundation Cup but lost to BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare in three games.
The Skippers have also signed their other draft selections in the trio of former Green Archers Joshua Torralba, Jollo Go, and James Laput, and former Centro Escolar University gunner Judel Fuentes.
Aside from Marinerong Pilipino, defending NCAA champion Letran, which will carry the colors of Wangs Basketball-Letran anew, UAAP runner-up University of Santo Tomas-Builders Warehouse, Karate-Kid CEU, and AMA Online Education headline the 12-team field.