AMA Online Education faces a tough test to kick off its campaign with top pick Jeron Teng in tow as it tackles newcomer Batangas in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup which unfolds on Thursday.
The lone game starts at 3 p.m. following a brief opening ceremony at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, with the Titans hoping to make waves right away with Teng onboard.
Indeed, much is expected from this year's top draft pick, who is fresh from leading the Green Archers to the UAAP championship.
Titans coach Mark Herrera is pinning his team's hopes on Teng, as well as holdovers Jay-R Taganas and Ryan Arambulo, as they eye a better showing this season.
Aside from Teng, AMA also tapped the services of University of the Philippines guard Diego Dario and former Blackwater player Juami Tiongson in the hope that the team will make the quarterfinals for the first time in three years.
"Malaking bagay yung pagpasok ni Jeron sa team namin. Morale boost pa lang malaki na talaga sa amin," said Herrera, whose team finished with a woeful 2-6 card in the Aspirants' Cup last season.
But it's not going to be a cakewalk for the Titans against new team Batangas, coached by Eric Gonzales, who led Phoenix to back-to-back titles last season.
"We'll try to compete to the best of our team," said Gonzales, who also has top NCAA guards Dan Sara and CJ Isit at his disposal.