BOCAUE, Bulacan - Soon arriving from Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the Incheon Asian Games, Japeth Aguilar was excited to rejoin Barangay Ginebra and help the Kings’ campaign in the PBA’s 40th season.
Aguilar’s excitement was pretty obvious on Sunday.
The athletic 6-foot-9 forward scored 18 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and added five blocks to lead Ginebra to a huge 101-81 rout of Talk ‘N Text before more than 52,000 fans at the Philippine Arena.
Aguilar's playing time dropped drastically in both the Fiba World Cup and the Asiad, but the Ginebra said he was still able to benefit from the experience of playing with some of the world's best players.
Even the times he spent on the bench, he said, proved beneficial as he was able to learn from top players like Luis Scola of Argentina and JJ Barea of Puerto Rico.
“Malaking malaki ang mga bagay na natutunan ko dun (Gilas). Experience-wise, to take every game, game prep, mga natutunan ko from my teammates and coaching staff, iyun ang mga na-apply ko sa career ko ngayon,” he said.
But the 26-year-old Aguilar is not about to sit back and relax after debuting with monster numbers.
“Defensively ang dami ko pang mistakes, pero yun pa ang puwede ko improve, 'yung block shots. Kasi it’s just a matter of making more effort,” said the lanky big man out of Ateneo and Western Kentucky.
Aguilar and Ginebra try to build on the 20-point win over Talk ‘N Text when they face expansion club KIA Sorento on Saturday in Lucena City.
Kia debuted with an 80-66 rout of fellow expansion team Blackwater in the opening game earlier.