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Philippine Basketball Association

Aguilar back with RP Gilas, to play against Whopper Friday

October 13, 2009 8:51pm

The Japeth Aguilar saga, which became a widely-followed soap opera for over a month, finally ended on Sunday after the controversial top overall rookie pick finally got his wish to play for the Smart Gilas developmental team of Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.

Burger King, which made Aguilar the overall top pick in this year’s rookie draft, released Aguilar after the Whopper’s 93-80 loss to the Purefoods TJ Giants. The Whopper secured four future first-round picks in the process where the Bert Lina franchise is hoping to use in securing some of the of the top players of RP developmental team in the years to come.

Aguilar is expected to play for Smart Gilas, which is playing as a guest team in the Philippine Cup, when the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)-backed squad against, ironically, Burger King.

Our plan is to have him play for us for at least some games and see his progress. We would like to know if puwede pa siyang magtagal sa team. Pero hindi na namin pinagtagal ni coach Yeng (Guiao) dahil nakaka-disrupt sa chemistry ng team. But bottom line, we felt na hindi pa talaga siya handa to play in the PBA.
Lito Alvarez, Burger King team manager

Aguilar struggled in his Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) debut last Sunday finishing with 10 points behind a 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 6-for-10 from the foul line.

But he was shipped out of the Whopper hours later and found himself in a three-way trade involving Barako Bull and Talk ‘N Text.

During the deal, the Whopper was able to get Barako Bull’s 2010 (previously acquired by Talk ‘N Text) and 2012 first-round picks and will also take Talk ‘N Text’s 2013 and 2014 first-round picks.

Barako Bull will now have the rights on Orlando Daroya while Talk ‘N Text will get Aguilar, who will be loaned to Smart Gilas.

“Our plan is to have him play for us for at least some games and see his progress. We would like to know if puwede pa siyang magtagal sa team. Pero hindi na namin pinagtagal ni coach Yeng (Guiao) dahil nakaka-disrupt sa chemistry ng team," Alvarez told GMANews.TV. “But bottom line, we felt na hindi pa talaga siya handa to play in the PBA."

Alvarez said that the controversy with Aguilar’s has brought setback to his team’s progress. The team has traded Arwind Santos to San Miguel Beer in anticipation of getting Aguilar.

But the team executive believes it was only temporary. “By next year, up to year 2014, tuluy-tuloy na naman yung continuity ng player build up namin. By 2012, mag-graduate na rin yung mga players sa Smart Gilas dahil two years lang yung program nila."

Alvarez and Ricky Vargas of Talk ‘N Text also issued a joint statement: “After watching Aguilar played his first game in the 35th season of the PBA, they realized that the 22-year-old cager would be best to play for the national team under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman in the next two years."

Based on the statement, SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan has instructed his officials from the SBP to “be part of the solution and not the problem."

Two days before the start of the PBA, Pangilinan met with Alvarez, Vargas, Talk ‘N Text board member Pato Gregorio, SBP executive director Noli Eala and Aguilar’s agent, Ronnie Nathanielsz, to reach an agreement.

“Throughout the negotiations, Aguilar and his family showed patience and understanding for which we are thankful. By all parties agreeing to be part of the solution, our quest to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and SBP relationship with the PBA, a major shareholder of SBP, has indeed strengthen." – GMANews.TV




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