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2021 SEA Games

Gilas take caution with Japeth Aguilar’s injury

This is a crucial week for Gilas Pilipinas in terms of securing the services of Japeth Aguilar for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.

The 35-year-old’s status for the biennial meet is now uncertain after suffering a Grade 2 calf injury during the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, where his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel took on NLEX.

He got hurt in the opener and would miss the rest of the series, though his side got the job done. He also sat out the Finals’ first three games against Meralco before returning in Game Four, helping the Kings eventually keep their crown.

“We will be talking this week just to check and finalize plans,” team manager Butch Antonio told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, Tuesday.

Aguilar was named part of the 16-man pool for the Vietnam Games, together with some of those whom he played with in the Tim Cone-mentored Gilas side that swept the previous SEAG competitions here in Manila.

Antonio shared that the program would rather have the two-time World Cup campaigner in full health for the ‘bigger wars’ ahead.

“Si Japeth, nag-uusap kami. We just want to make sure that he’s in full health, full recovery,” he told the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, PSC, POC, Unilever, Amelie Hotel Manila, and PAGCOR.

“We’d rather have a healthy Japeth getting ready for the wars – the bigger wars leading towards the World Cup. Or, even in the World Cup rather than i-sacrifice natin dito sa SEA Games na pwede naman nating, hopefully, maitawid.”

But Gilas wouldn’t say no to having Aguilar for the tilt, should he be declared good enough to go for yet another ride with the Nationals.

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“But at the same time, si Japeth naman, alam niyo ‘yung torn. Gusto niya mag-recover yung body niya but every time there’s a call to represent, hindi po umaatras e,” Antonio said. “Hindi po umaatras si Japeth.

“Of course, any team would want to have Japeth on board. And it will make our team very, very strong if he’s there,” he added.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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