ATHLETIC big man Japeth Aguilar has only one birthday wish as he turns 26 on Friday.
He wants Talk `N Text to trade him.
Finally ending his long silence, the 6-foot-9 Aguilar demanded that the reigning three-time Philippine Cup champions trade him to another team in a development that could signal the end of his rocky three-year stay with the franchise.
Speaking through his Philippine agent Marvin Espiritu, the enigmatic center admitted he no longer sees himself getting the playing time he wanted with the Tropang Texters.
Espiritu told Spin.ph that a message has already been sent by Aguilar to the management of the telecommunication franchise.
“Japeth wants to be traded before going home,” said Espiritu of his ward, who is currently still in Chicago.
Aguilar, who found it hard getting the minutes during his stint with the Texters under Chot Reyes, was initially scheduled to fly home before the end of the month. But that may change as he plans to await for new developments before taking the flight back to the Philippines.
“Hindi pa nga siya bumibili ng ticket eh. Basta ang gusto niya uuwi siya pag-plantsado na (ang transfer),” Espiritu, son of longtime player-agent Danny, said.
An emissary of Talk `N Text executive Patrick Gregorio reportedly contacted the 25-year old former Western Kentucky University back-up big man to whom Aguilar relayed his desire to be traded.
Aguilar believes that a trade would be a "win-win situation" for both parties.
PLDT chief Manny V. Pangilinan had earlier expressed to Spin.ph his desire to talk to Aguilar before deciding on a next course of action. And Aguilar's wish has apparently not changed even if it is now Norman Black, his college coach at Ateneo, who is now calling the shots for the Texters.
“Yung hinihingi niya kasing playing time sa ibang koponan niya pwedeng makuha. And knowing Japeth, he wants to prove his worth. And paano niya maipapakita `yun kung crunch time nasa bench siya,” said Espiritu.
Espiritu recalled one game in October of 2011 when Aguilar was chosen as Best Player of the Game in a win over Meralco. The former Ateneo center had a team-high 27 points and eight rebounds, spiked with key jumpers and rim-rattling throw downs.
But most games, Aguilar rode the bench come crunch time.
At least three teams in Air21, Barako Bull, and Barangay Ginebra are reportedly among those very much interested in acquiring Aguilar.
Sources, however, believe a straight trade between Talk `N Text and Barangay Ginebra is very remote. The PLDT and SMC groups have not had a deal for several years.
Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph