May 23, 2024

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Japeth Aguilar and Mason Amos named Gilas alternates amid injury woes

4 min read
GILAS ALTERNATE. Barangay Ginebra’s center Japeth Aguilar is named a Gilas alternate along with Mason Amos amid the national men’s basketball team’s injury woes. FIBA PHOTO

Japeth Aguilar finds himself back in the limelight, now as a crucial addition to the Gilas Pilipinas squad. 

At 37 years old, the Barangay Ginebra stalwart has been thrust into the national team’s orbit once again, this time as one of the designated alternates, ready to step up if needed.

The announcement from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) came on Monday, April 1, citing injuries within the team’s frontline rotation as the catalyst for Aguilar’s recall. 

With key players like June Mar Fajardo, Jamie Malonzo, and AJ Edu sidelined due to various ailments, Gilas head coach Tim Cone had to bolster his options, turning to Aguilar and Ateneo’s Mason Amos.

Coach Cone’s decision was influenced by the squad’s performance during the initial Asia Cup qualifiers, where injury setbacks left them short-handed against Chinese Taipei. Reflecting on the experience, Cone noted that they were left with only nine players, and Aguilar as replacement makes it 10. 

Hence, the inclusion of Aguilar and Amos aims to fortify the roster depth and readiness for upcoming challenges.

Aguilar’s recent contributions on the court have not gone unnoticed. Following his last-minute call-up for the Asia Cup qualifiers, where he stepped in admirably, Aguilar showcased his talents in the PBA All-Star game, emerging as co-MVP alongside Robert Bolick. 

His impressive form with Barangay Ginebra in the Philippine Cup further solidified his standing as a reliable asset for both club and country.

The seasoned veteran’s return to the Gilas fold evokes memories of past triumphs, notably his pivotal role in securing basketball gold for the Philippines at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. Aguilar’s experience and skill set make him a natural choice to reinforce in critical situations.

Coach Cone emphasized the strategic rationale behind each alternate’s selection, highlighting Aguilar’s potential to fill gaps in the frontcourt while underscoring Amos’ promise as a rising talent.

Coach Cone clarified that if any of the team’s key frontcourt players are unavailable, Japeth Aguilar will be called upon to fill the void. Similarly, if other positions require reinforcement, Mason Amos will be tasked with stepping up. Additionally, due to his youth and potential, Mason is seen as a player who could become a regular part of the team in the future.

As Gilas gears up for the forthcoming Paris Olympics qualifier, the team composition underscores a blend of seasoned campaigners like Aguilar and emerging stars like Kai Sotto and Dwight Ramos. The synergy between these players, coupled with Cone’s strategic acumen, sets the stage for a competitive campaign on the international stage.

With aspirations of Olympic qualification in sight, the inclusion of Aguilar and Amos adds depth and versatility to Gilas Pilipinas’ arsenal. 

As the basketball-crazy nation rallies behind its national team, Japeth Aguilar’s journey from standby to standout epitomizes the resilience and adaptability that define Philippine basketball.

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