JAPETH Aguilar hopes he made one step back and two steps forward with Gilas Pilipinas when he decided to undergo surgery to repair an old finger injury that kept him out from selection for the current national pool.
The Barangay Ginebra forward is recovering from surgery on a dislocated pinky on his left hand, an injury he said he suffered while on duty with the national team in an overseas training two years ago.
“Masaya ako sa decision ko na magpa-opera this offseason,” Aguilar said after an unofficial workout session with fellow Gin Kings on Monday at the CCF gym.
“Sinacrifice ko muna yung ngayon, para … hopefully in the future, (makalaro),” the 28-year-old cager added. “In God’s will, walang major injury na mangyari.”
Aguilar admitted he would’ve loved to wear the nation’s colors once again in the coming Fiba Asia championship in Changsha, China after representing the country the last two years.
“Oo, sayang yung opportunity eh,” the 6-foot-9 forward said. “Ako naman, talagang 'yung international competitions, iba. ‘Di mo kilala yung kalaban mo. Yun ang maganda dun. Talagang makikipag-compete ka sa kanila.”
The high-flying Aguilar, though, was healthy enough to take part in the drills conducted by assistant coach Kirk Collier in the absence of new head coach Tim Cone, and even executing a few dunks.
“May pagka-tigas rin 'yung ulo ko kasi gusto ko talaga mag-start (maglaro),” Aguilar admitted. “So kahit papaano, nilalaro ko pa rin siya.
“Pero alam ko naman kung sumasakit siya,” he added, showing his finger that’s still swollen. “Iniingatan ko pa rin kahit na medyo rigorous 'yung training namin kanina.”
Aguilar said he’s halfway through the 12-week timetable on his recovery.
“Yun (timetable) yung sabi ng doctor,” he said. “Pero titingan ko sa sarili ko kung makaka-recover ako kaagad, depende sa healing process ng katawan ko.”
“Mas gusto ko siya ngayon kesa before kasi yung ligament niya dito intact na eh,” he added. “Stable na siya nung nag-di-dribble ako kanina.”