MANILA, Philippines — Japeth Aguilar began working out with his team on Monday and the first Filipino to be drafted in the farm league of the NBA aims to impress general manager Kirk Lacob and coach Nate Bjorkgren to clinch a regular spot in the Warriors’ lineup.
“For me, I just want to concentrate and focus on playing basketball and the things I want to accomplish. Then again, in the Philippines, this is the first time it’s happening, so it’s a big deal for basketball followers there,” Aguilar yesterday told NBADLeague.com.
“That’s when the pressure comes in. Everyone wants to know how I’m doing. But when you get older, you get more mature. I don’t want to let them down. I’m gonna do the best I can,” he added.
The Santa Cruz Warriors, the D-League affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, picked Aguilar in the seventh round (109th overall) of the league’s recent rookie draft.
Team management should sign up the former Smart Gilas and Talk N Text springy forward prior to the NBA D-League’s opener on Nov. 23. The Warriors will open the season against the Reno Bighorns on Nov. 30 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.
“Filipinos expected really high things from me. When I didn’t really live up to their expectations, that’s when criticism came. That’s the turning point. I know I can do it. I just really need to be focused and work,” said Aguilar.