James Laput looks to give a huge impact to Marinerong Pilipino in the upcoming PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
The 6-foot-10 big man is among the new key recruits by the Skippers, the only non-collegiate squad in the cast of the season-opening conference.
"I'll just have to play as a factor as much as possible. I want to get my teammates going," Laput said on Thursday during the Usapang Sports forum by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports at the National Press Club.
Laput and JBoy Solis were introduced as two of the new members of Marinero in the said forum.
Laput will team up with fellow former De La Salle Green Archers Jamie Malonzo, Josh Torralba, and Jollo Go for the Skippers.
Malonzo, Torralba, and Go were all taken by Marinero through the draft on Monday along with James Spencer, Judel Fuentes, Darell Menina, Yves Sazon, Miguel Gastador, and Rendell Senining.
"We're trying to finalize the lineup. Hopefully, by tomorrow or by Monday, we will have our full lineup," Assistant Coach Tantan Banal said regarding the revelation of the complete Marinero roster for the Aspirants Cup, which will begin on February 13.
The Skippers came close to winning the Foundation Cup title last year, taking the first game of the finals, but the BRT Sumisip-St. Clare Saints recovered to steal the championship.
Banal believes the lack of cohesion among the squad spelled doom in Marinero's title bid. "Since iba-iba yung mga players namin from MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) teams, medyo conflict sa schedule, so doon kami nagkulang sa finals (Since we had different players from MPBL teams, we had conflict in schedules, that's where we lacked in the finals," he added.
A similar situation -- and possibly a tougher one at that -- awaits the Skippers as Torralba's Makati Skyscrapers and Go's Manila Stars are already into the MPBL playoffs, which means they may need to devote more time with their respective teams as the postseason nears.
But Banal said Marinero's higher-ups are expecting their players to focus on their D-League campaign.
"Gusto ni Coach Yong [Garcia] and ng management na sana maka-focus yung mga players sa practice para mas buo kami sa games (Coach Yong and the management want the players to focus on their practice to be solid during the games," he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency