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Tim Cone defends Japeth Aguilar: ‘His sacrifice for the country was total’

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone was quick to defend Japeth Aguilar as criticisms grew against the veteran big man for his performance in the recent FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia.

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Gilas Pilipinas’ Japeth Aguilar (FIBA)

The 37-year-old Aguilar was left with no choice but to play with additional minutes with Kai Sotto unable to suit up in their all-important game against Brazil due to a rib injury he sustained in the group stage match versus Georgia.

The Barangay Ginebra star put up four points, six rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes of play.

Despite these numbers, fans pointed out Aguilar’s lack of activity when Gilas needed to assert itself as Brazil slowly pulled away in the second half. The South American team eventually won in the semis duel, 71-60, and copped the Paris ticket after thumping host Latvia in the finals, 94-69.

“I begged Japeth (Aguilar) to join us in Latvia,” Cone wrote on X (Formerly Twitter) Tuesday, July 9.

“He wanted to let the young guys do it and spend more time with his wife and new baby,” he added.

Aguilar filled in the spot when news broke that promising big man AJ Edu sustained a torn meniscus last December.

He was present for the national team last February in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers despite having a newborn daughter.

“Kept begging him. When AJ Edu went down, he finally relented after more begging,” Cone continued.

“He led us, he was our team captain. His sacrifice for [the] country was total.” he concluded.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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