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    Marinerong Pilipino leads favorites in D-League Aspirants’ Cup

    Feb 29, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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