Apr 03, 2024

Japeth named as one of two Gilas alternates

IT'S a case of when it rains, it pours for Japeth Aguilar.

The 37-year-old Barangay Ginebra big man has been tapped as one of two additional to the Gilas Pilipinas pool, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) announced on Monday.

Injuries to the team's frontcourt rotation of June Mar Fajardo, Jamie Malonzo, and AJ Edu prompted coach Tim Cone to look for help and took in the service of Aguilar, who already played for Gilas as a last-minute replacement during the last FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

Ateneo big man Mason Amos was also named by Cone as the other Gilas alternate.

The first window showed us that we were a little thin in our lineup after AJ Edu, June Mar (Fajardo), and Jamie (Malonzo) missed our game vs. Chinese Taipei due to injuries," said Cone. "We were left with only nine players and only Japeth as replacement to make 10.

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"So now Japeth and Mason will practice and travel with the original 12 and be ready to step in if the need arises."

Following his stint with the national team in the first window of the Asia Cup qualifiers, Aguilar was named co-MVP of the last PBA All-Star game together with Robert Bolick as Team Japeth finished in a 140-140 stalemate with Team Mark in Bacolod City.

Aguilar has also been playing well so far for Barangay Ginebra in the Philippine Cup.

The veteran pro was likewise a member of the Gilas team that won the basketball gold in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

"If we lose one of our bigs, Japeth will step in," explains Cone. "If any of the others, Mason will fill the hole. Mason, too, because of his youth, projects as one of the regulars over time."

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Gilas is currently preparing for the coming qualifier for the Paris Olympics.

Also in the team are 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto, Scottie Thompson, Dwight Ramos, Calvin Oftana, Edu, CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, Carl Tamayo, Malonzo, Fajardo, and Kevin Quiambao. (RG)