"Mature" Japeth gives best performance by a Gilas player in SEABA
Paul Lintag on May 16, 2017 10:25 PM
Japeth Aguilar's 23 points is the highest so far by a Gilas Pilipinas player in the 2017 SEABA Championships.
Manila, Philippines --- After actually facing a challenge in the 2017 SEABA Championships, Gilas Pilipinas found a slam-dunking hero in Japeth Aguilar.
Watching his team struggle against Thailand in the early goings of Tuesday night's game at the Araneta Coliseum here, Aguilar knew he had to do a little something extra by the time he entered the floor coming off the bench.
And that something extra was to dunk all over people and spark the Philippines into a another lopsided win in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Up by only four, 18-14, at the end of the first quarter, Aguilar outscored the Thais by himself in the second, 15-12, behind a highlight reel that included dunks, dunks, and oh yeah, more dunks.
"Siguro coming off the bench ako, medyo nakikita ko yung nangyayari, kung ano yung kulang," Aguilar said after finishing with 23 points on a perfect 10-of-10 shooting from the field.
His scoring output is the highest by a Gilas player in this tournament so far.
"Kasi close game nung umpisa tapos parang medyo kailangan ng team to get going," he added.
While he looked extremely pumped with the way he punished the rims at the Big Dome, Aguilar insisted he was being patient during perhaps his best game in international play.
"Nagkataon lang na the ball was coming my way," he said.
Aguilar's stellar play didn't go unnoticed as head coach Chot Reyes was quick to praise the 6'9" forward.
"He's been here from the start of the Gilas program but he's only 29. There's a lot of basketball left in Japeth," Reyes said.
"More than the longevity, it's his maturity. In the previous games, he was content with playing a support role. We want to make sure we have a lot of weapons at our disposal, and tonight Japeth was the most lethal of them. I think it's just the continuing maturation of Japeth," he added.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8