ATHLETIC big man Japeth Aguilar, has chosen to stay with the NBA D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors after he accepted their offer to be a practice player.
According to a report posted on NBA.com Philippines, Aguilar continues to chase his dream of becoming the first Filipino player to make it to the National Basketball Association. He had hoped to land a spot on the roster of the Warriors but unfortunately, didn’t make the cut just before the D-League season started last Nov. 23.
“Comfortable ako sa team and I’m thankful for the opportunity. Maganda yung ipinapakita nila sa akin. Inaalagaan nila kami dun,” Aguilar was quoted in the report.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar is expected to return to Santo Cruz from Chicago, where his dad, former PBA player, Peter Aguilar is based and join the squad after the Warriors’ 10-day road trip.
The journey towards his dream of making it to the NBA has been a long and arduous one for the former Ateneo and Western Kentucky player. He left the Philippines after his contract with the Talk N Text Tropang Texters expired and was subsequently picked 109th overall in the D-League Draft. He survived two cuts from the early 17-man roster of the Warriors before eventually getting released by the team.
“Yun nga yung dini-deal ko ngayon. Binibigyan ko sarili ko siguro until the second conference of the PBA. Kasi ang hirap din. Three months na rin akong walang income. Pero yun nga, sabi ko sa sarili ko ‘wag muna ako magmadali,” Aguilar added in the report. /Correspondent Jonas Panerio