JAPETH Aguilar is embracing the challenge of being Barangay Ginebra’s last line of defense in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup where the Gin Kings are fielding the shortest among the imports.
Taking the risk on the 6-foot-5 Governors’ Cup hero Justin Brownlee, the Gin Kings are counting on the 6-foot-9 Aguilar to man the middle and take the unenviable task of defending the other teams’ reinforcements.
“We're looking forward sa journey sa Commissioner's Cup,” Aguilar said after Gilas practice on Monday night. “Ito kasi yung maglalaro si Justin na yung mga counterpart niya, hindi niya kasing height so whatever the journey is, parang preparation na rin ito sa Governors' Cup to defend our title.”
And with the Gin Kings still without Greg Slaughter, Aguilar will have his work cut out for him against the imports, who are all at least three inches taller than Brownlee.
“Knowing coach Tim (Cone), magiging team defense yan,” Aguilar insisted. “Mainly, ako pa rin magfi-fill sa center position, pero madami yang defensive schemes.”
Asked which among the imports he has seen will be his toughest matchup, Aguilar couldn’t pick one.
“Lahat, just watching them, monster stats yung prino-produce nila eh,” Aguilar said. “It's crazy, it's crazy talaga.”
First up will be Jameel Mckay, a defensive demon who has proven to be a legitimate offensive threat for Phoenix as the Gin Kings open their campaign on the road on Saturday at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym in Davao.
“I will do the best I can,” Aguilar said. “Alam mo naman yung mga imports, NBA veterans pa pero confident naman ako sa teammates ko, natutulungan nila ako.”