JAPETH Aguilar insisted he didn’t try to make a statement with his outstanding performance for Barangay Ginebra against GlobalPort in their opening game in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday night.
After seeing limited action for Gilas Pilipinas in the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the Gin Kings star forward showed his worth as he scattered a team-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, six boards, two blocks, and two assists in the 93-81 victory.
But the lanky Ginebra big man he wasn’t trying to prove anything.
“No, wala naman (akong gustong patunayan),” Aguilar insisted. “Yung sa Gilas naman, I try to put it behind me and try to move on na talaga.”
“It’s a learning experience talaga yun sa FIBA,” added the 6-foot-9 beanpole, who played a measly total of two minutes in two games during the qualifiers. “Looking forward talaga ako dito sa Ginebra.”
Aguilar did admit he managed take home a handful of lessons from his recent national team stint, especially their three-week European training camp, and apply it with the Gin Kings.
“Lahat ng aspects ng game, kailangan on-point ka lagi,” the 29-year-old cager said. “Hindi lang sa team namin kundi sa mga nakalaban rin namin.”
Aguilar said the absence of injured frontcourt partner Greg Slaughter has also forced him to take on a bigger responsibility for the Gin Kings.
“Ako, personally, nu’ng nawala sa amin si Greg, kailangan ko talaga mag step up,” he admitted. “Kailangan ready ako. Yung energy ko, yung conditioning ko, dapat andun kasi magiging doble ‘yung trabaho namin.”
With or without Slaughter, Aguilar simply missed playing for the league’s most popular team.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “Na-miss ko maglaro sa Ginebra talaga.”