Gilas has no time to sulk with key Angola clash next, says Japeth Aguilar
MANILA, Philippines — Japeth Aguilar remained optimistic despite Gilas Pilipinas’ gallant stand ending up with a heartbreaking 87-81 loss to the Karl-Anthony Towns-led Dominican Republic on Friday at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The Gilas captain wants his team to quickly put the painful defeat behind them and shift their focus to their crucial Group A match against Angola on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Some things were just not in our control… Breaks of the game,” Aguilar told reporters shortly after the loss. “We’re only going to get better from here. So, we have a quick turnaround, we’re looking forward to the next game.”
Aguilar, the longest-tenured player on the national team, is sticking to the positives like their defense anchored by young big man AJ Edu, who stood his ground against three-time NBA All-Star Towns.
“Our defense probably [was the silver lining]. Our young guys stepped up,” he said. “He really showed up this game. Big props for AJ Edu. I keep telling him to keep it up.”
The 36-year-old forward, who started the game and only scored two points in 10 minutes of action, apologized to the record-breaking 38,115 fans for letting them down but he promised to bounce back in their last two games in Group A including Italy on Tuesday.
“They showed up today. Sorry we didn’t get the job done but we still have hope. So hopefully, we’ll get a win,” Aguilar said.