NOW that Japeth Aguilar is with Barangay Ginebra, no one is happier than his dad Peter.
Speaking from his home in Chicago, the elder Aguilar could not hide his elation after reading online that his son has been traded to the ballclub he played for during his PBA career.
“Syempre, masayang masaya ako. Nanggaling rin tayo dyan eh sa Ginebra,” said Aguilar.
The elder Aguilar was so happy with the trade completed on Tuesday that he had one wish for his son: That Ginebra be the last team Japeth will play for in Asia's first pro league.
“Sana yan (na ang last team niya). Okay dyan. Danding Cojuangco (team) yan eh. Saka mahirap din yung palipat-lipat,” added the elder Aguilar, who played for Ginebra, then known as Anejo Rhum, from 1989 to 1991.
In only his fourth season in the pro league since being made the top pick overall by Burger King (now Air 21) in 2009, Japeth has found himself moving to his fourth team in the league.
The former NCAA Division I player saw action for just one game with Burger King before being traded to Talk 'N Text, which in turn loaned him to the original Gilas Pilipinas for more than two years.
Aguilar returned to the PBA in 2011 to suit up for Talk 'N Text and, after a failed bid to land a spot in the NBA, found himself being traded to newcomer Globalport in a six-team trade last January.
His father, however, believes that used properly and given the right breaks, the 6-9 big man can shine for Ginebra just as he did in a spectacular start with Globalport in the last Commissioner's Cup.
“Alam ko kakayahan ng anak ko, iba ang athleticism niya kahit matangkad. Kita mo naman nung umpisa ng conference (with Globalport) di ba?” said the father.
“Pero sana nga lahat ng nalalaman niya sa basketball, ilabas na niya sa Ginebra. Ginebra na yan eh. Maraming followers yan eh. Kaya kailangang manalo, hindi pwedeng (malamya). Kailangan madala niya sa championship yan,” the elder Aguilar added.
Aguilar has one other wish - to see his son don the same No. 4 Ginebra jersey which he wore during his time - a jersey which, by the way, became available with the departure of rookie Yousif Taha in the same trade that brought Aguilar to Ginebra.
Aguilar knows how loyal Ginebra fans are.
Although he played for three other teams in his five-year PBA career, namely Alaska, 7-Up and Sta. Lucia, Aguilar said fans to this day still identify him as a former Ginebra player.
“Andami kong nilaruan sa PBA, dito sa Amerika kilala ako na Ginebra player. Dun nila ako naalala,” said the elder Aguilar.
“Gaano kasarap isuot ang jersey ng Ginebra? Ako na hindi masyadong gamit noon nakilala ng tao, paano pa kaya yung sisikat si Japeth at lalaro ng maganda di ba?” he added.