Japeth Aguilar’s availability for next month’s Southeast Asian Games could be determined this week, but team manager Butch Antonio hinted that it would be best for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel big man to take more time to recover from his ankle injury.
Gilas is still finalizing its 12-man roster for the biennial meet in Hanoi, Vietnam, a process that includes determining whether Aguilar can take part in Gilas’ quest to extend the country’s regional cage dominance.
“We will be talking this week just to check and finalize,” Antonio said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum held virtually Tuesday, April 26.
Aguilar was part of Ginebra’s successful title run in the PBA Governors’ Cup, playing the last three games of the finals against Meralco after being sidelined due to the injury he sustained in the semis against NLEX.
Despite being far from his usual form, Aguilar was hailed for the presence he provided on both ends for the Gin Kings.
Antonio previously had discussions with Aguilar, a part of the 16-man pool for the SEAG, but told the big man that having him back in full strength should be the top priority.
“Nung huling usap namin before they won (the championship), sabi ko nga na we’d rather have a healthy Japeth getting ready for the wars leading to the World Cup, rather than i-sacrifice natin dito sa SEA Games,” said Antonio.
The Gilas official, however, stopped short of saying if Aguilar is already out of consideration, adding that the call to don the national team jersey is something that may entice the 6-foot-9 cager.
“Si Japeth gusto niya magrecover, but when there’s a call to represent, di to umaatras si Japeth. So that’s where we are,” he added.