GILAS Pilipinas’ athletic big man Japeth Aguilar has vowed to redeem himself from a poor performance that forced national coach Chot Reyes to play Marcus Douthit for extended minutes against Hong Kong on Wednesday.
“Talagang the first half wasn’t going our way (against Hong Kong). Nag try ako mag-offensive rebound. Two times nakuha ko ang bola pero bigla na lang nakawala,” recalled the 6-foot-9 Aguilar, who went scoreless in seven minutes in their final match of the second round of the Fiba-Asia Championship at the MOA Arena.
“It’s very frustrating because we’re very out of sync even sa depensa. But we learned our lesson in the game,” he added.
With Gilas visibly out of sync for the most part of the Hong Kong game, Douthit had to play 31 minutes, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds to lead the team to victory.
The 6'10" Douthit played with a sore right calf, which he said, hurt even more after the game.
Aguilar now hopes he, Douthit and the rest of the squad can get enough rest on Thursday so they can come out with a strong and sustained performance against Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals.
“I failed on my part to help him (Douthit), but we have one day off then he should get all the rest he needs and us getting ready for Friday’s game,” he said.
“Hindi namin sila kailangan i-take for granted. Kazakhstan ang kalaban, malay mo masilat pa tayo. Eh ang coaching staff naman ginagawa ang preparation so it’s up to us to do our job,” added Aguilar.