By Alder Almo, (posted in philstar.com on October 20, 2012)
MANILA, Philippines – Japeth Aguilar’s NBA journey has taken a detour after he failed to land a spot in any of the 28 team rosters in the preseason.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar, who has worked out with several NBA teams including the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers but failed to get a call, has sets his sights in the coming NBA D-League Rookie Draft on Nov. 2.
Hornets’ talent evaluator Don Sellers told Asian Journal, a Filipino-American newspaper based in the US, that Aguilar is “a work in progress”.
“I like some of the skills he brings to the table. Again, I want to reiterate this: He needs to be more of a westernized player which you saw he’s made a commitment in doing,” Sellers told the Asian Journal after Aguilar’s workout with the Hornets.
The former top pick overall in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will be attending his final NBA D-League camp today (Oct. 20) in Chicago.
“Japeth (Aguilar) has one more camp to attend. It’s the Iowa Energy D-League camp in Chicago on Oct. 20. This is the last day of all the D-League camps and we’re hoping he will give his best,” Aguilar’s Fil-American agent Chris McGarry told philstar.com/NBA.com Philippines via email.
Chris McGarry (right) with Peter and Japeth Aguilar. Photo courtesy of Chris McGarr
“Several teams have shown immense interest and some have waived their camp fees just to see him and we’re all grateful to all the teams that gave him the opportunity and unfortunately we had to decline some of them for we had no time,” McGarry added in the email.
Aguilar, who boasts of a 36-inch vertical leap and a 7-foot wingspan, has also worked out with NBA D-League teams Bakersfield Jam, Santa Cruz Warriors, Los Angeles D-Fenders among others before his camp with the Energy.
Aguilar has moved in to Chicago, where his parents are based, after starting his training in Los Angeles. In the Windy City, the former Western Kentucky Hilltopper and Ateneo Blue Eagle is being supervised by an ex-Chicago Bull in his personal workout according to his US-based agent, who played under Turo Valenzona in the FEU Tamaraws in 1980-81.
McGarry played against Aguilar’s father Peter, who was with Valenzona’s other team Trinity College during those years. Aguilar and McGarry went on to become teammates in the defunct Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL) and remained friends since then.
McGarry, whose daughter Christi Lynn won the Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific crown in 2010 and is planning to join the Bb. Pilipinas 2013, has followed Japeth’s career in the Western Kentucky University. He invited Aguilar back to the US when his contract with the Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters in the PBA expired a few months ago.
“Japeth is such a wonderful nice young man and has done all the hard work needed in preparation to every camp,” McGarry said. “I’m very honored for the trust Japeth and his parents have given me and I will do all I can to make him the first Filipino to be in the D-League and hopefully, in the NBA.”