JAPETH Aguilar considers his second tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas as an opportunity to redeem himself after a forgettable stint with the original Smart Gilas squad under then Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.
Now playing with renewed confidence after his 14-game stint with new team Globalport in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Aguilar is channeling all his energy into Gilas Pilipinas' preparations for the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship in Manila this August.
“Focused lang ako sa Gilas. I had a good week of practice,” said the 6-9 big man, who is set to leave with the rest of the Gilas pool on Sunday evening for a two-week training camp in Lithuania.
In his three years with Toroman's Gilas squad from 2009-2011, Aguilar started from being part of the Gilas core with Chris Tiu, JV Casio, Mark Barroca, Mac Baracael to being the last option in the four spot when PBA players Kelly Williams and Ranidel de Ocampo came in to reinforce the team.
“Yung nangyari sa Gilas I, ako yung ginagamit as primary four (power forward), but in the end, naging last resort ni coach Rajko ang PBA players,” said Aguilar.
The former NCAA Division I player, however, said he has put that behind him and is eager to do well in the biggest tournament of his basketball career.
He is even polishing his three-point shot, just in case the opportunity to shoot it comes around.
“Lately, mas naka-focus ako sa four spot at pinaga-aralan ko sa practice yung three-point shooting kasi sa international play, napapabayaan ang four sa labas,” Aguilar said.
“Feasible yung time namin saka maganda yung samahan ng team. Handa nga lahat mag-sacrifice."