By Alder Almo
MANILA, Philippines – Japeth Aguilar made a good account of himself in limited time off the bench in the Santa Cruz Warriors’ 129-126 triple overtime win against the Texas Legends last Sunday (Monday in Manila) in the NBA D-League preseason Jamboree in Oklahoma.
Aguilar, who had survived two cuts to make it to the 12-man preseason lineup, grabbed three boards and dished out an assist with no turnovers in 11 minutes of play to help the Warriors’ withstand former NBA player Chris Douglas-Roberts’ 49-point, 7-rebound and 8-assist performance.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar checked in the 4:46 mark of the first quarter replacing 7-foot center Chris Daniels with the Warriors trailing, 13-15. He fed Carlon Brown for a layup, the Warriors’ first basket after a 10-0 run by the Legends.
Aguilar saw action next in the second quarter when he replaced Taylor Griffin, the brother of the Los Angeles Clippers star Blake, in the 4:17 mark and immediately made an impact grabbing two boards.
Aguilar started for the Warriors in the fourth quarter and collared one more rebound but missed his lone field goal attempt. He was replaced by Daniels after committing his third personal foul and rode the bench starting the 8:28 mark of the final canto.
Dominique Johnson and Griffin led the Warriors with 26 and 20 points, respectively, to gut out the come-from-behind win over the Legends, who were handled by debuting coach and former NBA player Eduardo Najera.
The Warriors’ top draft pick Travis Leslie along with former PBA import Steffon Hannah, who played for Bmeg (now San Mig Coffee) two seasons ago, and Rick Jackson received DNP (Did Not Play) in the Legends game. No reasons were available as to why the three players did not see action.
Aguilar, meanwhile, scored his first basket in the NBA D-League in the Warriors’ 95-79 win over the Tulsa 66ers a day earlier prior to the Texas Legends game.
The former PBA overall top pick nailed a long jumper to break a 66-all deadlock inside the final three minutes of the third quarter.
Official stats of that game are not yet available on the NBA D-League website but Aguilar’s US-based Fil-American agent Chris McGarry told philstar.com in an email that his ward scored two points and blocked a couple of shots.
Aguilar is now waiting for the Sta. Cruz management’s decision on the team’s final 10-man roster for the season before the D-League tips off on Nov. 23.
The Warriors will not see action until Dec. 30 when they face the Reno Big Horns on the road.