Basketball

Amid trade to Ginebra, Japeth Aguilar wants to focus on stint with Gilas first

Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Like his father Peter Aguilar, high-flying forward Japeth Aguilar will have an opportunity to suit up for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the PBA’s most popular squad.

But despite the much-ballyhooed trade, Aguilar’s focus remains singular: playing for the Philippine national men’s basketball team, where he is in the running to make coach Chot Reyes’ final lineup for the FIBA Asia Championship in August.

“We just talked briefly about the trade, then we shifted to Gilas because he really wants to be in Coach Chot’s magic 12. His focus is still with Gilas,” wrote Marvin Espiritu, Aguilar’s agent, in a text message to InterAKTV.

Prior to the start of the season, Aguilar went to the United States where he became a practice player of the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA D-League. He was persuaded by Gilas coach Chot Reyes to come home and join the national pool.

Aguilar, likewise, resumed his PBA career and got the minutes he wished for when he was traded to the GlobalPort Batang Pier.

With GlobalPort, Aguilar was able to show he is a vital cog while getting more exposure. That made him a more attractive prospect for the Gin Kings.

“I talked to him briefly yesterday (Tuesday). First, medyo nalungkot siya dahil malapit na din siya sa mga teammates niya sa GlobalPort. But he understands that trade is being part of the pro,” said Espiritu.

Now Aguilar will start another chapter of his storied basketball career as a member of the Gin Kings.

Like any other player, Espiritu believes Aguilar looks forward to playing for the league’s crowd darling. More importantly, he thinks the 6-foot-9 forward will get the minutes he wants from the Gin Kings.

“I think most players growing up wants to play for Ginebra. But never niya naisip na he will end up with Ginebra. Still, all he wants is playing time to prove his worth,” said Espiritu.

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