By Alder Almo
MANILA, Philippines – Japeth Aguilar got closer to landing a roster spot in the Sta. Cruz Warriors – the NBA D-League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors – in the coming season, which tips off next week.
Aguilar, who was chosen by the Warriors in the seventh round as the 109th overall pick, has a good chance of landing a roster spot, his US-based Fil-American agent Chris McGarry told philstar.com/NBA Philippines in an email yesterday.
The 6-9 Filipino prospect survived the first two cuts and will join 11 other Warriors in two preseason games before the final 10-man roster for the season will be revealed next week.
“Way to go Japeth. He’s looking good. They just cut two guys from the training camp,” McGarry said.
The Warriors have waived guard Arron Mollet and forward Harouna Mutombo the other day while three more players were cut yesterday.
Mollet was drafted by the Warriors in the eighth round with the 125th overall pick in this year’s draft.
Mutombo, who was drafted 115th overall by the Idaho Stampede in the 2012 NBA D-League Draft, was acquired through a trade.
Guard Darren Moore, forward T.J. Robinson and forward Steve Tchiengang were the three players who were given the pink slip after the fourth day of training camp in the Golden State Warriors training center in Oakland.
Moore was drafted in the sixth round with the 93rd overall pick, Robinson was picked in the third round with the 33rd overall pick, and Tchiengang was drafted in the fifth round with the 77th overall pick.
This leaves Aguilar as the lowest draftee left in the roster, which will head to Texas for the NBA D-League Pre-season Jamboree. The Warriors are set to play the Tulsa 66ers today and the Texas Legends tomorrow.
Aguilar, who granted a telephone interview to philstar.com and NBA.com Philippines (ph.nba.com) yesterday, said that he’s still adjusting to the D-League.
“There’s too many adjustments. Especially rules both offense and on defense and the height adjustment also,” the former Western Kentucky and Ateneo Blue Eagle said.
Aguilar, whose natural position is power forward, is asked to play what they call in the US as “hybrid power forward”.
“There’s something they call here as a 'hybrid' power forward. I don't want to say I'll give mismatch problems, but that's the idea,” Aguilar said.
“It’s difficult. It’s a tough battle for the roster spots. Only 10 players will be signed up. Well, I don’t want to give false hope to my fellow Filipinos and disappoint them. But I will do whatever I can, he added.
The former PBA top overall pick is grateful for the Filipino fans’ support and is asking for more prayers as he goes through the final phase of the training camp.
“I really thank the Filipinos. I hope you continue to support me. Only one week left,” Aguilar said.
Photo above shows Japeth Aguilar posing with the Santa Cruz Warriors during NBA D-League Cares activity. (Photo courtesy of www.nba.com/dleague/)