JAPETH Aguilar’s inclusion in Gilas Pilipinas' pool of 13 players in the fourth window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers is seen as a welcome news to the coaching staff of after he was under put health protocols the past few days.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios said head coach Chot Reyes has been eyeing Aguilar to be part of the pool since the start of training, but only got his clearance recently after he was under health protocols.
See Gilas sets 13-man squad ahead of game against Lebanon
Barrios said Aguilar’s health situation was nothing serious, with Gilas only taking precautionary measures.
“Truth to tell, gusto siya ni coach Chot sa line-up. Kaya lang, he was covered by protocols. Nag-iingat lang tayo ika-nga. Ayaw lang natin na ma-ano ‘yung kanyang health,” said Barrios during Monday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
“Pero nandoon ako sa ensayo kahapon, nandoon siya, kinausap ko siya kung kamusta siya, sabi niya, okay naman. Nagsu-shooting siya, light shooting and nagmamasid siya ng mataimtim ika-nga sa practice at scrimmage ng ating team,” said Barrios.
Aguilar was also part of the pool for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, but failed to make it to the final roster due to a calf injury that bothered him since the semifinals of last season's PBA Governors' Cup.
The 35-year-old Aguilar will be providing added ceiling to the team that also has 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto as part of the 13-man pool for the Thursday game in Lebanon (Friday, Manila time).
“Malaking development na makakasama siya talaga kasi talagang kursunadang kursunada siya ni coach Chot at ng coaching staff, and of course, lalo na si coach Tim,” said Barrios.
Barrios said Aguilar was under observation the past week before he was cleared.
“’Yung medical team natin headed by Dr. Randy Molo ang nag-clear sa kanya. Minomonitor siya the past week or so and actually, maayos siya, nag-iingat lang tayo. Hindi naman anything na bothersome or major. Unang-una, kakalaban lang niya sa semifinals. Mas mabuti na rin magpahinga siya dahil, like I point out, hectic ang ating schedule,” said Barrios.