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    Japeth set for return to PH team practice after ankle sprain layoff

    Feb 5, 2019
    PHOTO: marlo cueto

    JAPETH Aguilar vowed to be in uniform the next time Gilas Pilipinas takes the court on Thursday as he aims to fully recover from his ankle sprain.

    "Next time, mag-practice na ako," he said on Tuesday night at Meralco Gym.

    The Ginebra forward was limited to an observer in the past two training sessions of the national team, which was also the first time the team had naturalized center Andray Blatche on hand.

    Aguilar hurt his right ankle in Ginebra's 97-85 win over Columbian last Saturday and had to beg off from partaking in the national team's on-court activities these past two days.

    But despite him being unable to run the plays, Aguilar made himself present for the trainings, intently studying the plays and familiarizing himself with the system.

    "We need these practices para ma-familiarize kami sa offense. Mahalaga talaga ang mga practice na ito at yun ang ginagawa ni coach Yeng (Guiao)," he said.

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    "We're doing all the things we can, mentally even if wala kami sa practice. As professionals, alam namin kung gaano ka-important itong last window."


      The Philippines is in a dire situation heading to the sixth window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers, as it sits at fourth place in Group F with its 5-5 card.

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      Gilas needs to sweep its next set of road games against Qatar on Feb. 21 in Doha and versus Kazakhstan on Feb. 24 in Astana if it wants to have a shot at earning a ticket to the World Cup in China in August.

      "Sobrang crucial itong last window. We're doing everything that we can to get ourselves prepared," said Aguilar.

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      PHOTO: marlo cueto
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