DESPITE its new-look line-up, Hapee team owner Cecilio Pedro remained optimistic about the franchise’s shot of winning back-to-back titles in the PBA D-League.
The Fresh Fighters are parading a different team in the ongoing Foundation Cup only a month after winning their first title in the league by ruling the season-opening Aspirants Cup.
Hapee no longer has the services of San Beda players in Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer and were replaced by unheralded Mark Romero, Arvie Bringas, Jovet Mendoza, Mar Villahermosa, and Leo Gabo.
It also lost key stalwarts to injuries namely, Aspirants Cup Most Valuable Player Ray Parks and Garvo Lanete.
Yet despite the predicament, Pedro still sees the team a title contender in the season-ending tournament.
“They are still adjusting dahil bago pa eh,” Pedro said during a recent get-together he hosted for the entire Hapee team. “They are only practicing for a month and they are still in the adjustment stage.
“But I still see the potential of the team despite the injuries. Hopefully, we will be able to deliver and be in the championship,” he added.
Heading to the weekend break, Hapee sports a 2-1 win-loss record following a close victory over AMA University on Thursday, with big man Troy Rosario leading the way for the team during the game.
Hapee’s school tie-up with San Beda remains enforced and Pedro is hopeful Adeogun and Baser will be able to play for the Fresh Fighters in the tournament.
“They (Red Lions) will train in the States. We'll see pagbalik nila. It's not only for Hapee, it's for the league. Maganda 'yung malakas 'yung team at 'yung may laban. Like 'yung last series, maganda ang laban, maraming nanood,” Pedro said.