TIM Cone hardly doubted Japeth Aguilar can shoot the ball from downtown. He knew Japeth's dad afterall.
As he watched the 6-foot-9 Aguilar drain one three-pointer after the other on Christmas Day, Cone was easily reminded of a person from the not-so-distant past who’s closely associated with the young power forward – his father, former PBA player Peter Aguilar.
Although obviously more athletic and a better player than his patriarch, the young Aguilar, according to Cone, projects the same form as his father, who the champion coach briefly handled while still calling the shots for Alaska in the 90s.
“You remember I coached his dad Peter, and Peter was like the best shooting big man I’ve ever seen,” said Cone moments after Barangay Ginebra turned back Star, 86-79, on Sunday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The December 25 match saw Japeth register a career-high 32 points – 18 in the second half – and was a perfect 5 of 5 from three-point range.
It was a shooting clinic from a big man that hardly surprised Cone.
“When I first saw Japeth, he shoots exactly with the same form and everything (as his father),” said the multi-titled mentor, who had the elder Aguilar on his Alaska roster when he won his first ever championship in the league in 1991 against Ginebra during the Third Conference finals.
“Japeth has great form and great ability to be that kind of player who can shoot shots like that,” Cone added. “His dad was lights out.”
The Ginebra mentor admitted the coaching staff has been pushing the young Aguilar to try and push his range to the three-point range in the same manner big men such as Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, Troy Rosario, or Mo Tautuaa have been doing nowadays in order to spread out the defense outside.
So far, the result has been a positive one for the Kings.
“We’ve been encouraging him to shoot threes. That’s a huge weapon that maybe we can continue to use and develop as we go along,” stressed Cone.
“Hopefully, we don’t live by it, but that’s a nice weapon to keep.”