IS this the year of Japeth Aguilar?
With fellow bigmen Jun Mar Fajardo of San Miguel and Raymond Almazan of Meralco out with injuries and teammate Greg Slaughter opting to take a break from basketball, pundits believe this season is Aguilar's for the taking.
In the aftermath of his breakout performance in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup that earned him the Finals MVP trophy, jaded observers believe Aguilar appears bound for an MVP season.
But the 6-foot-9 forward refused to be carried away. He knows too well his success for individual honors depends on how the Gin Kings would fare this season.
"For me, ang strength namin is playing as a team talaga," Aguilar said.
Aguilar, who also earned a spot in the Mythical Second Team, also cited the presence of capable contenders from San Miguel, who are qually eager to step up in the absence of Fajardo, Almazan and Slaughter.
"We can't count them out. Ang daming pwede mag-step up sa kanila," Aguilar said referring to Fajardo's teammates .
The same goes for Magnolia and TNT, who are both expected make the playoffs of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
Whatever the future holds, Aguilar is focused on being a better teammate as Ginebra seeks its first all-Filipino crown since 2007.
"I just got to be ready talaga," he said. "Yung mindset ko, hindi talaga ako pwedeng mag-relax dahil alam ko na medyo malaki ang gagampanan kong role this coming all-Filipino. Pero I know na hindi lang ako yung mag-a-adjust, pati yung buong team talaga."
In the meantime, Aguilar and his wife Cassy are busy lending a hand to frontliners of the coronavirus outbreak that forced the suspension of all PBA activities. (RL)