Marinerong Pilipino coach Yong Garcia did not expect for his Skippers to nab Jamie Malonzo with the second overall pick in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft on Monday.
The 6-foot-6 wingman out of De La Salle was the projected top pick by AMA Online Education, but the Titans surprisingly took little-known 17-year-old Reed Baclig instead.
“Hindi namin inakala na makukuha namin,” Garcia said moments after the draft proceedings held at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City.
“Pero masaya kami na nakuha namin siya.”
The Skippers are more than happy after nabbing the UAAP Season 82 Mythical Team member. They also feel satisfied with how the draft went for them, since they got the players they were eyeing.
Marinerong Pilipino got former Green Archers Joshua Torralba and Jollo Go; University of the Philippines’ James Spencer; ex-CEU guard Judel Fuentes; and University of Cebu’s Shane Menina.
“Masaya kami kasi ‘yung ina-eye naming players, nakuha namin,” Garcia expressed.
“Talagang sila ang mga players na tingin namin makakatulong sa Marinerong Pilipino.”
The Skippers have beefed up with their draft picks, but Garcia says that their challenge now is to form a solid unit for the 2020 Aspirants’ Cup.
Add to that the fact that they are the only club team in the 12-team field, as the rest are school-based squads, spearheaded by the UST Builders Warehouse and the Wang’s Basketball-Letran.
“Karamihan ng teams, school-based, so kailangan ‘yung mga beterano namin, gumanda ‘yung samahan with the fresh legs,” said Garcia, as veterans such as Mark Yee and Rev Diputado will return.
“‘Yung pressure nandoon dahil kami lang ang hindi school-based. Hopefully makapag-form kami ng maayos na team na kaya sumabay sa takbuhan ng school-based.”
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