Japeth wants to repay fans’ love
PASSI CITY, ILOILO—Japeth Aguilar may not take part in Sunday’s PBA All-Star Game due to an injury, but he has embraced the role of being one of the delegation’s ambassador—a responsibility he bears as the top vote-getter for the exhibition extravaganza.
“I really appreciate their love and support,” Aguilar told The Inquirer in a short chat while students and teachers at Passi City One Central School approach the Barangay Ginebra star for selfies and autographs.
It’s the least that Aguilar can do as he takes a break from his recovery from an MCL sprain he sustained in a Governors’ Cup game against NLEX last month at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Aguilar offered little details on the ongoing progress of his bid to return to action for the league’s most popular ballclub, but he no longer wears an immobilizer and can walk as if he’s injury free.
But being cleared to play is another question, and Aguilar isn’t a rush to rejoin the Gin Kings in time for the playoffs.
“I’m just taking it day-by-day,” he said. “I’m just doing everything I can to get better. But we’ll see, we’ll see.”
Coach Tim Cone has suggested that Aguilar won’t be back until perhaps late in the playoffs, if Ginebra, already with a twice-to-beat advantage after improving to 8-2 before the All-Star break, could make another deep run.
So far, the absence of Aguilar has not hindered the Gin Kings, thanks in large part to the recent form of Christian Standhardinger.
Standhardinger’s series of all-around numbers has not only helped Ginebra’s cause, but also further talks of being the initial contender for the Best Player of the Conference.
Aguilar, the co-Most Valuable Player of the last All-Star edition at Calasiao in Pangasinan in 2019, garnered 1.24 million votes to become one of the captains for the game.
His Team Japeth will face off with fellow Gin King Scottie Thompson and Team Scottie following the side events that start at 4:30 p.m. at City of Passi Arena.
“We hope to repay the fans for the warm welcome they’ve given to us,” said Aguilar, who was named an All-Star for the ninth time.