BARANGAY Ginebra’s title aspirations suffered a big blow as athletic big man Japeth Aguilar will be sidelined for about a month after suffering a sprained MCL (medial collateral ligament) on his right knee following an awkward fall Friday night during the Kings’ 91-104 loss to Barako Bull in their PBA Governors Cup game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Ato Agustin confirmed the development after Aguilar’s MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) result was evaluated by famed orthopedic surgeon Raul Canlas on Saturday morning.
“Sabi nga ni Doc. (Canlas) four to six weeks nga daw siya mawawala. So that means, Japeth will be out for the rest of the eliminations,” Agustin told Spin.ph just before the team’s Saturday afternoon practice at the Green Meadows.
Aguilar’s unexpected injury left Ginebra with a smaller frontline as veteran forward Kerby Raymundo is still out with a bone bruise on his knee.
Raymundo’s return remains uncertain, according to Agustin.
The new Ginebra coach said management is now considering tapping another big man from the free agency market as a stop-gap measure since the team only has Billy Mamaril and Rico Maierhofer as its legitimate big man outside import Dior Lowhorn.
“We’re planning to get one big man (from the free agency) nga. Pero pinag-uusapan pa namin,” added Agustin, whose team faces Alaska Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Asked if former league MVP Asi Taulava could possibly come in at this point in time when the Kings are in dire need of a big man, Agustin said he has no idea since management takes care of that side of the business.
“Tungkol sa trade, wala naman kaming (coaching staff) alam diyan. Management na ang bahala dun,” he added.
Taulava’s playing rights is currently is owned by Meralco, the team he last played in the league before leaving to suit up for San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
The 40-year-old Taulava played a big role in the Beermen’s 3-0 title sweep of deposed champion Indonesia Warriors in the ABL Finals last June.