IN the eyes of veteran playmaker LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar could have easily injected youth and additional defensive presence had Barangay Ginebra landed him in a complicated, multi-player deal that changed scope a week before the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“Siyempre, dagdag athleticism uli iyan sa team kung napunta sa amin si Japeth,” Tenorio admitted to Spin.ph moments after the Kings touch down in Cebu to play in the short, four-team Sinulog Cup starting on Thursday.
Aguilar, the top rookie pick in the 2009 draft, was dealt by Talk `N Text to Globalport in a direct trade for former Rookie of the Year Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
The former Western Kentucky University standout was then supposed to be headed for Barangay Ginebra in another wave of trades involving the Kings, Petron, Globalport, and Meralco.
Unfortunately, negotiations fell through, leaving Aguilar stuck with the Batang Pier.
Tenorio, who himself came on board at Ginebra following a stunning off-season trade with Alaska and Globaport, feels that Aguilar’s size and quickness can create mismatches in favor of the Kings.
Tenorio also knows Aguilar well, the two having spent a year together at Ateneo before the enigmatic slotman moved to the US NCAA with Western Kentucky.
“Siguro he could create mismatches sa four and three positions, kasi parang big guard din naman ang laro niya,” he added.
The 28-year-old Ginebra point guard, nonetheless, has some reservations as far as Aguilar’s conditioning is concerned since the 6-foot-9 Aguilar has been out of active competition since leaving the country last August to try his luck with several NBA D-League teams.
“Si Japeth kasi in-and- out ng liga, so experience-wise, kulang pa siguro compared kay Kerby (Raymundo) na balita nga na makakapalitan niya sa trade if ever,” explained the former Ateneo standout.