WITH most of the teams set to do battle in the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup fielding school-based squads, Marinerong Pilipino coach Yong Garcia looked forward to draft day with his sights trained on getting players who can beef up the Skippers.
He got more than what he wanted last Monday, plus a big bonus.
With AMA Online Education opting to make its young gun Reed Baclig as the top pick overall in the draft proceedings at the league office in Libis, Marinerong Pilipino capitalized and picked Fil-Am forward Jamie Malonzo, a former La Salle standout, at No. 2.
“Hindi namin inakala na makukuha namin pero masaya kami na nakuha namin siya (Malonzo),” said Garcia.
“Masaya kami kasi iyong ina-eye naming players, nakuha namin. Talagang sila ang players na tingin namin makakatulong sa Marinerong Pilipino,” he added.
Aside from the 6-foot-6 Malonzo, the Skippers also drafted former Green Archers Joshua Torralba (second round), Jollo Go (third round), University of the Philippines’ James Spencer (fourth round), former Centro Escolar University gunner Judel Fuentes (fifth round), and Cebuano Darell Menina, who used to suit up for Mapua University, (sixth round).
Marinerong Pilipino advanced to the finals of last season’s Foundation Cup but lost to BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare in three games.
Garcia’s task at hand now is to whip his charges into one cohesive unit.
“Nandoon pa rin iyong mga beterano, sila Mark Yee, Jordan Rios, (Rev) Diputado, at Jboy Solis,” offered Garcia.
“Malaking tulong sila (draft picks) dahil talagang sa tingin namin, kailangan namin magpalakas. Karamihan ng teams, school-based so kailangan iyong mga beterano namin, gumanda iyong samahan with the fresh legs like (Jamie) Malonzo at (Joshua) Torralba.”
While admitting that he is elated with how they used their picks in the draft, Garcia maintained there is pressure to deliver.
“Masarap, pero iyong pressure nandoon dahil kami lang ang hindi school-based team,” said Garcia.