EVEN the smallest schools can match it up with the heavyweights.
That's the notion that Rensy Bajar wants to prove as he takes Diliman College-Gerry's Grill to the 2019 PBA D-League.
"We are taking the opportunity na makasali sa D-League. We want to show na kahit anong competition yan, kaya naming magcompete as long as we're playing fair," he said.
Bajar, a court general who had stops with Shell and Alaska in his PBA career, has been at the helm for the Blue Dragons for the better part of the last decade now, and after years of seeing players come and go, he thinks that there's no better time for him to test his side's mettle than now.
After all, these guys have ruled their mother league UCBL, and what better way for them to show that they are for real than squaring it up with some of the best collegiate teams in the country.
"This is a learning experience for us. Malaking bagay ang pagsali namin dito dahil I'm sure that we'll gain a lot of experience before we go back sa UCBL," said Bajar, who also had a one season-long run as the head coach of the UP Fighting Maroons.
Things, though, are slowly coming together for Diliman-Gerry's after its 88-51 win over The Masterpiece Clothing-Trinity University of Asia on Monday.
And leading the charge in this breakthrough win in the developmental ranks is Beninese center Kevin Gandjeto, who had 21 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.
Bajar was happy to see snippets of success like those of Gandjeto's, though he knows that he and his still are still far from their goal.
"Kevin is a hardworking player and has a good character, willing to learn. He's a coachable player, but we know na marami pa siyang kailangang i-improve. Hindi pa yun ang lakas niya. Kailangang maibuhos pa niya ang hinahanap namin sa kanya sa mga susunod na laro," he said.
And the same goes for the other Blue Dragons like Joseph Brutas, Paolo Balagtas, and Chris Torrado among others, as Bajar wants nothing to see but continuous improvement from his wards.
"We cannot stay here. Di kami kailangang makuntento," the soft-spoken mentor said. "Mas marami pang ilalabas ang mga kalaban so we need to prepare more on the next games, especially sa defense dahil yun lang ang nagbibigay sa amin ng chance na manalo."