JAPETH Aguilar is hoping to land a spot in an NBA Developmental League team through its draft on November 2 as he pursues his dream to make it to the NBA via the backdoor.
The 25-year-old Aguilar deemed the D-League as the fitting route for him to finally realize his dream of becoming the first pure Filipino to play in the premier basketball league in the world.
The D-League has long served as the farm league of the NBA where the likes of Jeremy Lin, Aaron Brooks, Rafer Alston, among others, once started.
The son of former PBA player Peter Aguilar attended his last D-League tryout with the Iowa Energy in Chicago, Illinois last October 20 prior to Draft Day.
Chris McGarry, the US-based agent of Aguilar, said the former Western Kentucky big man has already learned to adjust his style of play following numerous tryouts with various D-League teams.
“We’re very confident that he has done his best,” said McGarry as quoted by the Asian Journal, a Fil-American newspaper in the US.
Upon arrival in the US last September, the athletic 6-9 player has already tried out with various D-League teams including Bakersfield Jam, Santa Cruz Warriors, and Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Aguilar, who also had a brief stint with the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP, also worked out with NBA teams San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets, and Los Angeles Clippers.
McGarry said he hopes the series of tryouts helped convince a D-League team to select Aguilar in the draft, no matter at what round and what pick as long as “he could contribute to the team.”
Meanwhile, Aguilar’s Filipino agent Marvin Espiritu admitted to Spin.ph that should Aguilar’s D-League bid fail, the big man is expected to return to Manila and continue negotiations with Talk `N Text.
“Japeth has been bulking up in the States, and has spent a lot of time working out. We’re still waiting for words after the series of tryouts he attended there. Pero kung di siya mabibigyan ng offer, most likely babalik siya sa Pilipinas,” said Espiritu.
“But definitely, he’ll be dealing with Talk ‘N Text since they hold the rights on Japeth.”
Aguilar, whose contract with the telecommunication franchise expired a few months ago, averaged 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 52 games for the Tropang Texters during the 37th PBA season.
Talk `N Text team manager Aboy Castro had previously mentioned the franchise has a standing offer to Aguilar once he decided to resume his career in the league.
Espiritu said Black already told Aguilar that he does have a role to play for the Tropang Texters.
“But coach Norman told him he definitely has to earn his spot in the team. Ang maganda lang, alam naman ni coach paano siya gagamitin since naging player na siya before ni coach (at Ateneo),” added Espiritu.
Aguilar played for the Blue Eagles under Black during the 2005 and 2006 UAAP seasons. His collegiate stint here however, was cut short when he decided to play for Western Kentucky University, a US NCAA Division 1 school.