Known for his high-leaping dunks and instant highlight-reel blocks, Japeth Aguilar shone bright as he put on an impressive show not around the ring, but in his mid-range jump shots in Gilas Pilipinas tune-up game against Iran on Wednesday at the Big Dome.
Showing consistency in his perimeter shots, Aguilar posted a perfect shooting night as he went berserk right in the get-go for 10 points that was pivotal in the Gilas’ 14-point lead in the first quarter to the delight of the Filipino crowd in attendance.
Aguilar eventually ended up with 12 markers in just 15 minutes of play, one of the 5 players in double digit for the national team when they escaped Iran, 81-70, in their last game before heading to Europe for a 3-week training camp.
“Tinake ko lang yung mga opportunity na nanduon kanina sa laro, luckily pumasok lahat ng mga tira,” said Aguilar on his 1st quarter explosion.
Preparing for a different set-up in terms of play compare to the PBA, the Ginebra big man saw the need to improve his shooting, which will be a crucial offensive asset for Gilas in their bid to qualify for Rio.
“Sa tingin ko, ‘yun talaga yung mao-open sa akin, lalo na sa international competitions, kahit sa practice doon na rin ako magco-concentrate,” he shared.
And his international coach is not even surprised on Aguilar’s performance.
“We believe he will do that and the more he does that, the more we’re gonna be able to tap in his skills set,” said Baldwin.
The American-Kiwi coach shared he discussed Aguilar’s added offensive arsenal to suit well on the tempo of international play.
“He has to break some of his PBA habits where he can just be big, that won cut it here,” he added.
– By Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH