JAMIE Malonzo and the entry of brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano certainly puts Marinerong Pilipino as one of the heavy favorites this 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.
Marinerong Pilipino is the only club among the 12 participating teams, and the acquisition of the Mighty Sports trio boosts the Skippers’ bid for a breakthrough title after failed campaigns in the past.
The Skippers came close to the titles several times, including a runner-up finish in the Foundation Cup last season.
Still, coach Yong Garcia says the roster boost doesn't guarantee a championship in the developmental ranks.
On the heels of its NCAA title conquest, Wangs Basketball-Letran are heading to battle confident as Larry Muyang and Fran Yu usher in a new era for the Knights.
So is Builders Warehouse-UST, with Beninese forward Soulemane Chabi Yo, the UAAP MVP, leading the fight for the Growling Tigers as he'll be joined by Mark Nonoy, Rhenz Abando, CJ Cansino.
Seaoil-FEU is also looking to kickstart a new era with backcourt duo L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos reunited in the Tamaraws as they will be backstopped by Nigerian center Emman Ojuola.
Meanwhile, it's a chance for EcoOil-DLSU to show that it remains as one of the top teams in the land, with Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio bannering the Green Archers.
For some, this conference is a chance to further their maturity.
RK Ilagan hopes that his peers in APEX Fuel Mindanao-SSCR develop just that, and so does for holdovers Franz Diaz, Jordan Intic, Rich Guinitaran for a new-look Karate Kid-CEU.
Laurenz Victoria and Warren Bonifacio will be tasked to carry the flag for the young ADG Dong-Mapua side, while Robbi Darang, Johnnel Bauzon, and Senegalese center Abdoulaye Niang lead Diliman College.
Jayvee Marcelino heads Family Mart-Enderun, which leans on Mark Nunez and Ivorian center Joseph Kouakou.
TIP will have the forward duo of Ivan Santos and Bryan Santos, as celebrities Andre Paras and Young JV join 17-year-old top pick Reed Baclig in carrying the load for AMA Senior High.
Only the top six teams will make it to the playoffs, with the top two advancing outright to the semifinals. The third and fourth seeds will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against the teams that finish Nos.5 and 6.