Barangay Ginebra star and Gilas mainstay Japeth Aguilar has been impressed with the play of the country’s young basketball stars and is excited to see them take their place in the FIBA World Cup in 2023.
Fresh off Ginebra’s championship conquest in the PBA Philippine Cup, the 6-foot-9 high-leaper is now being eyed to take part in the third and last window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifying games this February in Clark, Pampanga.
After seeing the cadets dominate Thailand in the second window, Aguilar believes the future of Philippine basketball are in very capable hands with the emergence of young stars such as Dwight Ramos and Justine Baltazar.
“I really believe na time na yun ng next generation,” Aguilar said of the cadets in the aforementioned World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
“Skill-wise, talagang advance na yung mga, I don’t wanna say kids eh, yung youth ngayon. Medyo advanced na talaga, kasi yung training nandyan na,” shared Aguilar.
Aguilar added that being a veteran who has also gone through what the young players are going through right now, he believes him sharing his experience will benefit the cadets.
“Willing akong ma-share yung experience ko. Kasi, kumbaga, pinagdaanan ko rin yung naging sitwasyon nila,” Aguilar added.
With the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers looming on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether Aguilar will be donning the Gilas jersey once again. He was supposed to take part in the first window back in February but begged off because of his honeymoon. This time, Aguilar said that he needs to assess where his conditioning level is at before making a commitment to the national team.
“We’ll see. If ever sasali ako, gusto ko ready talaga ako. Naging learning experience ko rin itong bubble. Nung pumasok ako hindi ako ready, kaya sa umpisa nag-struggle ako,” Aguilar said. (JNP)