JAPETH Aguilar is looking forward to a new beginnig in his PBA career.
Joining Globalport's practice for the first time barely eight hours after arriving in Manila on Tuesday, the controversial big man went through his paces with the rest of the team and immediately got a passing grade from coach Junel Baculi as far as his conditioning is concerned.
"This is a fresh start for me," said the former top rookie pick overall. "Gagawin ko lahat ng makakaya ko for Globalport. I'm really thankful for the opportuniy given me to play."
The warm welcome at Globalport eased Aguilar's fears after a 20-hour flight from Chicago which he said he spent wondering what to expect on his return to the country after a failed shot at an NBA dream.
The athletic son of former pro Peter arrived a little past midnight and was there for the start of Globalport's practice at 9 a.m.
"Nung una iba ang pakiramdam mo. Excited ako na anxious kasi di ko alam kung paano ako sasalubungin," shared the former Ateneo Blue Eagle and Western Kenucky Hilltopper backup center.
Asked if he had any bitter feelings toward former team Talk 'N Text, which traded his signing rights to Globalport for Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Aguilar said: "Nothing personal. I don't know kung may sama ng loob sila.
"But I just want to be thankful for my coaches - coach Chot (Reyes) and coach Norman (Black) with whom I've been with for many years."
While rumors persist that Globalport may not be his final destination and that the 26-year-old may eventually find himself being traded to Barangay Ginebra, Batang Pier team manager BJ Manalo assured that the Mikee Romero-owned franchise will be Aguilar's new home.
Manalo said the team is set to offer Aguilar a three-year contract with maximum salary.
"Definitely, we'll make Globalport Japeth's home. Sinabi ko na sa kanya na we won't trade him," said Manalo.