BARANGAY Ginebra is keen to revive the aborted trade for big man Japeth Aguilar as the PBA's crowd darlings look for ways to shore up their frontline in time for the season-ending Governors Cup.
A high-ranking team official who requested that he not be named pending a new round of talks for the athletic Globalport center bared this to Spin.ph, stressing, “Gusto namin talaga yun, kung ibibigay.”
“Meron naman nang usapan iyan eh, noon pa,” added the official, who disclosed they will only take a short break before pursuing other possible movements for a team whose lack of depth in the frontline became exposed in a three-game loss to Alaska in the last Commissioner's Cup Finals.
Spin.ph learned that just before the Commissioner’s Cup eliminations came to an end, Ginebra made a desperate effort to swing a trade for Aguilar, offering rookie Yousif Taha, Elmer Espiritu, and Robert Labagala for the 6-9 center and two-time MVP Willie Miller.
Even the name of Ginebra veteran Kerby Raymundo was thrown into the mix at some point during the failed negotiations, sources added.
Aguilar, formerly of Talk 'N Text, was supposed to be shipped to Ginebra early in the season by way of a multi-player, multi-team trade that also involved Sol Mercado and Raymundo, but the deal fell through as a top SMC official pulled the plug on the transaction at the last minute.
Ginebra's shallow frontline was dominated by Sonny Thoss and Company in the Finals, and the lack of depth is expected to be more pronounced in the Governors Cup where the Kings can't avail of the services of a legitimate center like Vernon Macklin.
Imports in the season-ending tournament will be no taller than 6-5.
Even star playmaker Jayjay Helterbrand believes the Gin Kings are a dominant big man away from going all the way.
“We are only a piece or two to make this team formidable again. I think we’ll need a big man underneath, that’s our waterloo for a long time now,” said Helterbrand.
There have also been talks that if the bid for Aguilar fails again, Ginebra may go for San Miguel Beermen Asi Taulava and Eric Menk, both of whom should be available by the time the Governors Cup starts in August.
However, any move for Taulava should go through Meralco, which still owns the rights to the 40-year-old former league MVP.
“Hindi muna namin sasagutin yan. Kais naglalaro pa sila sa ABL, and besides, `yung rights ni Asi nasa Meralco pa,” said the San Miguel Corp. official.