The name that’s always the subject of scrunity, doubt, and lofty expectations.
The name where people pin their hopes to.
The name that polarizes.
One impressive performance and he’d captivate a fanbase.
Underperform for a minute and he’d be the subject of hate among basketball enthusiasts.
Given his immense athleticism and height, and the expectations that go along, Aguilar knows this since entering the big league, but it did not stop him from working hard.
Aguilar has lived with it, and he knows there will be more to come in the future. But it is no reason to stop. It has made him even tougher inside and out, and with Barangay Ginebra head coach Frankie Lim giving added motivation, the big man has learned how to rise anew.
“Hangga’t naglalaro ako, mayroon namang ganyan. Kay coach Frankie, he requires effort and nilalabas niya ang the best of me,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar missed a handful of outings for the Kings but has since provided spark for his team, averaging 16.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.3 BPG, shooting 54.2 percent from the field.
On Wednesday night, Aguilar capped an improbable return to the playoffs by sinking a corner triple with 1.7 seconds left to push Ginebra ahead, 110-107 against the NLEX Road Warriors.
The Kings eventually won, and for that night, Aguilar perhaps has once again gained the trust of the Ginebra fanbase.
“Pag mga ganung sitwasyon, make or break na e. Kaysa ma-turnover, titira ko na lang. Nagkataon lang yun, depende naman sa moments e. Kapag nasa loob ka, maintain mo lang ang composure mo. Tina-try ko lang i-relax ang sarili ko. Nagkataon lang na naghelp yung tao ko kay Orlando Johnson, tapos nagkick-out sa akin para mabigyan ng pagkakataong tumira,” Aguilar shared, recalling the crucial moments of the match against NLEX.
Adversity is nothing new for Aguilar whether it was caused by injuries or doubt. But through it all, his character has propelled him to conquer the negativity.
“Umpisa ng conference, we encountered a lot of difficulties kasi bago kami kay coach Frankie. Itong game na ito, test sa character namin. Happy ako sa teammates namin dahil nakahanap kami ng paraan para manalo,” he said.
And with Lim continuing to push Aguilar, the Ginebra mainstay is regaining the form he is known for.
“Grabe ako pagalitan ni (Lim) sa practice pero sa akin naman, work hard lang and walang perfect game e. Keep on learning from my mistakes.”