SPOTLIGHT is on Santi Santillan as he'll be counted on to lead Marinerong Pilipino in the upcoming 2019 PBA D-League wars.
Coming off a solid two-year run in La Salle, the Cebuano forward, who was picked second overall in the past draft, is pressured to carry the load for the Skippers.
That weight gets a lot heavier given that Marinerong Pilipino has always made it to the semifinals since joining the developmental ranks back in 2016.
Coach Yong Garcia believes that it just motivates his wards to perform at their best.
"Marinero has always been in the semis, and the pressure is heavier for us especially now that the team have new sets of players. But we're using that pressure as a motivational factor for us to strive hard and achieve our goal," he said.
Supporting Santillan in this quest will be Ateneo shooter Anton Asistio, JRU guard Jed Mendoza, Lyceum forward Jeric Serrano and NU big man Matthew Aquino.
Garcia, who also serves as an assistant coach to new Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara, has also brought in Cardinals Christian Bunag, Laurenz Victoria, Warren Bonifacio, Arvin Gamboa, and Joaqui Garcia.
Tough as the 20-team field is, Garcia believes that Marinerong Pilipino has a legitimate chance to make an impact this PBA D-League season, set to start on February 14 at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
"We all know that both Ateneo and San Beda are the teams-to-beat. Their rapport, basketball IQ, chemistry and will to win are already there," he said. "If we run our system well and if the boys push themselves to the limit and play as a team, I think we have an edge."