WHEN Japeth Aguilar joined the national team program in 2009, Yeng Guiao saw a talented, highly-athletic big man who has a lot of upside.
The second generation big man, though, still didn’t have the maturity and wisdom and appeared to be misguided.
Proof of that was when the 6-foot-9 big man was selected as the top overall rookie pick of Burger King, then Guiao’s mother team in the PBA, the young athletic forward turned his back and decided to work as full-time player for SMART-Gilas Pilipinas.
Guiao was able to handle Aguilar briefly and although he went hard on the young big man, who was coming off a program at Western Kentucky, the fiery mentor saw a promising talent.
“Nine years make a lot of difference in a player’s maturity. Noong 2009, nandyan na yung physical abilities, yung talent niya, yung athleticism niya, andyan na. Pero wala pa yung wisdom, experience and maturity,” said Guiao.
After nearly a decade, Aguilar was reunited with Guiao, this time more matured and more equipped than he was before and it looks like love is sweeter the second time around.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar has won three championships while playing for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and his presence, according to Guiao, will have a huge effect on the current team he’s building for the next window of the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifier.
“Ngayon andyan na rin sa kanya, those things that will make him more valuable now when he was playing for me in 2009. You cannot measure that by statistics. Nami-measure mo yun kung anong effect kapag nasa loob siya. I can see that he now has that effect in the team, yung intangibles,” added Guiao.
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