SINGAPORE—Japeth Aguilar won’t be in PBA limbo after all.
Talk ‘N Text agreed to transfer its rights to Aguilar to Globalport for Rabeh Al-Hussaini in a deal approved by PBA commissioner Chito Salud Thursday morning after the 6-foot-9 forward refused to sign a new contract with the Tropang Texters.
Globalport, in a separate pact, also snagged perennial all-star and national pool member Sol Mercado from Meralco in a deal involving seven players and the Batang Pier’s 2015 first-round pick.
Rookies Kelly Nabong and Jaypee Belencion and forward Yousif Aljamal are now all headed to Globalport, which gave up Rey Guevarra, Josh Vanlandingham, its 2015 first round pick, and under-sized power forward Vic Manuel.
“These trades are beneficial to the teams and all the players concerned,” Salud said.
Aguilar, who spent the entire Philippine Cup in the United States trying to land a spot in the NBA D-League, could still end up with Barangay Ginebra if the rest of the complicated deal pushes through this weekend.
The son of former Ginebra center Peter Aguilar, Japeth has had a very rocky first two years in the pro league, which started in 2010, when he declared that he didn’t want to play for Burger King, which made him the No. 1 overall choice that year.
Aguilar then moved to Talk ‘N Text but languished in the shadows of the team’s more seasoned frontliners like Ali Peek, Harvey Carey and Ranidel de Ocampo.
He wasn’t in the roster that won the Philippine Cup a third straight time recently, holding out on a maximum contract extension while demanding for more playing time.
“Had Globalport not made a move, it would remain in the bottom of the PBA standings,” said Globalport owner Mikee Romero, who footed the bill for the entire entourage’s trip here for being the newest PBA member, in a text message. “Now, the team’s focal point would be Japeth, Sol and Gary David.”
Whether or not Aguilar stays with the Batang Pier remains to be seen, since the original deal would have him landing a spot with crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra.
The import-spiced Commissioner’s Cup opens Feb. 8 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.