WHILE he still lacked the toughness expected from a 6-foot-9 center like him, Japeth Aguilar already showed his athleticism in just his first tune-up game with Globalport on Wednesday against Rain or Shine at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.
Suiting up in his first practice game with his new team one day arriving in the country late Monday, Aguilar readily found a way to score while learning coach June Baculi’s system by repeatedly scoring on broken plays and providing an offensive option for the Batang Pier.
The former Western Kentucky University back-up finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three shotblocks, although the Batang Pier lost to the Elasto Painters, 87-80.
“Nag-aadjust pa `yung bata, pero nakikita mo `yung eagerness niya to contribute,” said Baculi.
Gary David led Globalport with 17 points.
Baculi admitted he still has to design plays for the high-leaping big man, but with the way he played in his first exhibition game with the team, the Globalport mentor is positive that bright days are ahead of the rookie franchise.
“OK naman, adjustment siguro kaunti na lang,” said Aguilar when reached by Spin.ph after the game. “Hopefully (ito na `yung time na hinihintay ko sa career ko). Kailangan na rin kasi nagkaka-edad na ko.”
Aguilar is also optimistic Globalport will improve its performance from a cellar-dweller in the season-opening Philippine Cup to a possible playoff contender in the Commissioner’s Cup with its energized lineup.
“Yung team namin chemistry pa ang kulang, ang daming bago, ang daming bata. Pero tingin ko okay naman,” added Aguilar.
Asked if Globalport will have troubles dealing with him the way people perceived him to be when he previously suited up for Talk `N Text, Aguilar replied, “No. No. Wala, wala naman akong naging problema sa previous coaches (and teams ) ko.”
“Basta gagawin ko ang lahat ng makakaya ko every game, basta sa team namin tulong-tulong lang. Sana maging maganda standings namin unlike nung nakaraang conference.”