TALK ‘N Text is bent on keeping an intact lineup going into the next PBA season, and that includes problematic slotman Japeth Aguilar.
Incoming head coach Norman Black said the team wants Aguilar to stay despite reports that the 6-9 restricted free agent has turned down a fresh three-year deal offered by the Texters.
There have also been rumors of a trade that is in the works involving Aguilar and Global Port slotman Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Black's former player at Ateneo. But for the deal to push through, Aguilar must first sign a contract with the Texters, sources said.
“We’re hoping Japeth will sign up with us. Management is ready to renegotiate the contract with him,” Black told Spin.ph.
Aguilar is currently in the United States with his father, former Ginebra center Peter Aguilar, and Black said he has no idea when the younger Aguilar is coming back.
Black is confident the current nucleus of the Talk 'N Text team he inherited from Chot Reyes can hold its own when the new season unfolds on September 30 despite the massive gains made by Petron and San Mig Coffee (formerly B-Meg) in the offseason.
“We still have a pretty solid team, though of course, we really have no choice but to work on what we have because we didn’t really have a first round pick in the recent draft," said Black, who is returning to the PBA after handling the Ateneo Blue Eagles since 2005.
“We’re well aware of Petron building up in the offseason, but we pretty much will compete this coming season. We’ll just have to utilize the talent we have right now.”
The Tropang Texters had been a dominant team for the past two seasons after winning three PBA championships and making it to the Finals five times in the last six conferences.
Jimmy Alapag, the 2011 league MVP, will continue to lead Talk ‘N Text in its drive to defend its Philippine Cup/ All-Filipino crown for the second straight year.