Japeth-Aguilar.jpg“He worked out with us during one of our local tryouts. We’re very impressed with his ability. We think he has a chance to continue to develop and turn into a really good player,” Lacob added.

When ABS CBN reached Japeth Aguilar through phone, he became very emotional of being selected.

“It was very nerve wracking for me. It was crazy,” he said. “This is just the start. Right now, I’m going to do anything I can to help the team win. My goal now is when I get there to learn as quick as possible.”

Three years ago, Aguilar passed on playing in the NBA D-League out of Western Kentucky to play in the Philippine Basketball Association. Most Filipino basketball fans expected him to dominate a league littered with 6’5 centers. He was the first pick in the PBA draft in 2009 but his play there is best described as underwhelming.

His time was split in playing for the PBA Talk N’ Text and the Smart Gilas Philippine National Team. With coaching and positional differences Japeth Aguilar was unable to reach his full potential.

With his PBA contract expired, he ventured out to the US to pursue a life long dream in the NBA. After trying out for several NBA and NBA D-League teams, and now being drafted, he believes this is his chance for a fresh start.

However, being drafted does not ensure Aguilar of a roster spot on the team.

Aguilar will receive an invite to training camp, where he’ll compete against returning NBA D-League, affiliate players and invited local tryout players.

“There’s only ten spots available so these guys are all going to have to claw and scratch their way onto the team,” said Lacob.

Credit: ABS-CBN news and GMA news videos