FOR Japeth Aguilar, it's country first and marriage later.
A week after proposing to longtime partner Cassy Naidas, Aguilar said their wedding day could be pushed to a later date to give way to Team Pilipinas' campaign in the FIBA World Cup in China.
Aguilar was a key cog in the country's campaign to earn a return trip to the world cage championship set August 31 to Sept. 15.
The Barangay Ginebra big man popped the proposal to the beauty queen upon the national team's arrival at the airport last week from their successful campaign in the final window of the FIBA qualifers.
Originally, Japeth and Cassy were looking to get married in three months' time.
"Pero I think maiiba yung schedule since magkakaroon nga ng World Cup," Aguilar shared to SPIN.ph. "So maybe after na ng World Cup."
Aguilar is 32 years old and Naidas is 28. Before the engagement, the two went steady for three years.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar disclosed his decision to propose was made during the national team's stay in Kazakhstan.
"Ten days away so ang feeling ko I need the moment talaga," he said.
Aguilar said he brought the ring in Dubai with the help of his sister when the national team had a long layover last year during the World Cup qualifiers in Iran.
The national team stalwart previously tried to 'fish' his partner on the ideal engagment ring for her.
"Nung sinabi nya yung mga qualifications, tinandaan ko, at minemorize ko," recalled Aguilar.
Then came the long stopover in Dubai,
"Perfect timing nung nagkaroon kami ng layover sa Dubai. Nagkaroon ako ng chance na tumingin-tingin," said the Ginebra ace.
After buying Cassy's 'dream ring,' Aguilar had it under the care of his mother.
When the chance to propose came, he had a common friend fetch it from his mother and brought it to the airport.
Not wanting to make a big scene at the NAIA, Aguilar opted not to take the same path as his Gilas Pilipinas teammate.
"Hindi ako sumabay sa mga teammates ko. Ibang way yung dinaanan ko. Nag-try talaga akong magka-moment kami. Kaya if you noticed (the video), nasa other side kami ng airport," said Japeth.
Did the act surprised Cassy?
"Nagulat daw siya," said Aguilar laughing. "But she was teary-eyed."
Congratulations Japeth and Cassy.