IT'S a new era for Marinerong Pilipino as the only club team in the field opens its 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup campaign against Karate Kid-CEU Monday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Without a doubt, this is the strongest lineup the Skippers have ever trotted out since joining the league in 2017, with Jamie Malonzo and brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano leading the pack.
And it puts much pressure on the shoulders of coach Yong Garcia to deliver, especially with Marinerong Pilipino coming off of a runner-up finish in the Foundation Cup last season.
"Blessing in disguise sa amin yung mga players, pero kailangan pa rin namin maglaro as a team," said the soft-spoken mentor ahead of the first conference where the Skippers are regarded as one of the heavy favorites.
Game time is at 4 p.m.
The Scorpions, on the other hand, are bracing for new starts as well with coach Jeff Napa now calling the shots.
Holdovers Franz Diaz, Rich Guinitaran, and Jordan Intic remain in the revamped Karate Kid-CEU, which will also have Jerie Pingoy, David Murrell, and John Apacible in its lineup.
"Madami pa kaming kailangan ayusin, pero ang hinihingi ko lang sa players na lumaban sila," said Napa.