Jamie Malonzo has all his focus shifted on playing now that he has sorted out his citizenship papers.
The 6-foot-6 winger out of De La Salle finally made his PBA D-League debut last March 9 when Marinerong Pilipino took on ADG Dong-Mapua University in 2020 Aspirants’ Cup action.
Malonzo was supposed to play in the Skippers’ clash versus Karate Kid-Centro Escolar University in the season opener last March 2, but was unable to participate since his papers hadn’t been processed yet.
“It feels good. Not being able to play the first game, I wanted to come out,” said the Fil-American cager.
Malonzo did just that as he impressed in his debut. He collected 23 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, four assists, and a block as he led his side to an 83-69 conquest of the Cardinals.
“All I’m thinking is getting back and playing,” he said. “So far, so good. I love the team. I love the way we play.
The second overall pick of the 2020 D-League Draft said that he still plans to work on his game despite the impressive outing, especially after shooting 8-for-23 from the field.
But the 23-year-old said that his shots were still within the system of coach Yong Garcia.
“A lot of the shots were just me being aggressive. But nevertheless, it’s those shots that the team wants me to take,” Malonzo said.
“Playing here is fun. I just try to work on my game.”
What the one-and-done Green Archer aims to work on is adapting to the physicality, now that he plans to make the jump to the pros — where many see him as a first-round draft pick.
“It’s real physical. But I got the first game out of the way,” said Malonzo.
“First game shenanigans always.”
Now that his first D-League game is in the books, Malonzo looks forward to being better as the conference goes along.
He is excited as well for the Skippers’ next game, which will be against his former team EcoOil-La Salle.
“I can’t wait. I’m beyond excited,” said Malonzo, a member of the UAAP Season 82 Mythical Five.
“I can’t wait to get buckets on them. Hopefully, we get the win. I’ll be competing my ass off.”