EVEN after hyper-extending his right elbow following a bad fall from a dunk, Tim Cone sees big man Japeth Aguilar still doing the same act over and over again.
Japeth just being Japeth, according to the Barangay Ginebra coach.
“It’s just Japeth,” said Cone of Aguilar’s slam-dunking ways. “That’s his game. And we’re not gonna take that away from him.”
Aguilar was doing well and scoring heavily in the first half of the Kings’ PBA Philippine Cup game against Blackwater until the 3:50 mark of the second period when he awkwardly fell on the Astrodome floor following a two-handed slam off a transition, hurting his right elbow in the process.
The 29-year-old power forward had to be immediately attended by the team’s physical therapists following the incident. And while he managed to stay on and watch the Kings pulled off a 99-90 win, Aguilar was no longer fielded back by Cone.
Aguilar finished with 14 points and five rebounds in his 14-minute stint on the floor.
He later went to the hospital following the game, where x-ray revealed there was no fracture on his elbow. As a precautionary, the 6-foot-9 Pampanga native sat out the Kings Saturday practice for their game against Phoenix.
Cone admitted being frightened whenever Aguilar would go for those high-wire acts of his, be it during games or simply in practice.
“I’ve been fearing this for a long time because he does it in practice, he does it when he’s fooling around, and you always thought he’s gonna break a finger or sprain a wrist. Imagine hurting your elbow on the rim,” said the Ginebra mentor.
But Cone has learned to deal with it. Besides, getting injured is but a part of any athlete’s life.
“It’s something that’s part of the game, just like running up and down the court, getting banged, getting up there on the rim,” according to the man who owns a record 19 PBA championships.
On second thought too, Cone said everybody gets enlivened whenever Aguilar would slam one home just the way he did on this unfortunate Friday night.
“Everybody loves it, the crowd loves it, our team loves it,” admitted the Ginebra coach. “So it’s more than just a shot, it’s an energizer for the whole team when he’s able to do those kinds of things.