Source : Asian Journal
LOS ANGELES - With the National Basketball Association Development League draft only a few weeks away, Pinoy basketball player Japeth Aguilar hopes to make a “lasting impression” in his final try-out this Saturday.
On October 20, the 6’ 9” Aguilar will attend the Iowa Energy’s open try-out in Chicago, Illinois. The Energy is the D-League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Hornets, and Washington Wizards.
Aguilar’s agent said the 25-year-old Filipino forward is ready to give his best performance and have a “very good showing of his skills.”
“Japeth is really excited for this tryout. With all of the opportunities he’s been given in the past two months, he’s ready to make a lasting impression,” said Chris McGarry, Aguilar’s agent.
The former PBA No. 1 pick in 2009, Aguilar has been on a whirlwind journey trying to become the first pure Filipino to make it into the NBA.
Aguilar, whose PBA contract with the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters expired, which allowed him to pursue his NBA dreams, has worked out with several NBA and NBA D-League teams since arriving to the U.S. from the Philippines in September. He's had work outs with the San Antonio Spurs, Hornets, Clippers and D-League teams Bakersfield Jam, Santa Cruz Warriors, Los Angeles D-Fenders, among a few others.
“’We’re very confidant that he has done his best,” said McGarry. “He’s a totally different player than when he came here. He’s adjusted to the speed, strength, his approach and the way the game is played here in the U.S.”
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle and Western Kentucky Hilltopper Aguilar did not receive a training camp invite from an NBA team so he has now shifted his energies to being selected in the D-League draft on November 6.
He was training in Los Angeles but has since relocated to Chicago, where his parents live.
His agent said Aguilar is training with an ex-NBA player, a former “Bull” until the D-League draft.
Many sources have pegged the Filipino forward to be selected anywhere from as early as the second round but no later than the mid-round of the eight round draft.
McGarry said Aguilar doesn’t care where he goes as long as he continues to develop and helps the team win.
Wherever Aguilar gets drafted, he’ll have a legion – perhaps a nation of hardcore basketball fans following his every move.
No Philippine-born player has ever been drafted by an NBA D-League team.
“This could be history in the making,” said McGarry. “Filipinos are the highest followers of the NBA on twitter, facebook and other social networking sites so there’s already a lot of excitement [in the Philippines].”
“We are all very excited. Japeth and his whole family will track the draft and hopefully, he’ll get drafted,” he added.
In three seasons playing in the Philippines, Aguilar split his time with the Smart Gilas Philippine National Team and the PBA’s Talk N’ Text.
Warriors Refute “Erroneous” Reports
There have been some initial reports floating around that the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warrior D-League affiliate has promised to select the Filipino forward early in the draft.
Warrior officials told the Asian Journal that those reports are wrong.
“There was a previous report that we had agreed to draft him,” said Matt de Nesnera, the Warriors’ manager, public and community relations. “We would like to get the record straight. This report, amongst other rumors, is erroneous.”
De Nesnera said one of the stories online reported that the team is planning to use its second round pick on Aguilar, but it forgot to mention one important thing.
“We do not have our second round draft pick this year,” he said.
“We do have interest in Japeth, but would appreciate it if all information released about his tryout with us stay general and correct,” he added.
De Nesnera said the team is “intrigued” by Aguilar but would not comment further about the how the Filipino performed during the try out or how his skills would fit in with the Warriors if chosen by the team.
“Japeth is intriguing because of his background, his talent level and his story. Certainly the prospect of the first pure Filipino player in the NBA playing for our team in northern California, where there is a vibrant Filipino community, is of interest. But again, we want to stress that any rumors surrounding the Santa Cruz Warriors and Japeth Aguilar are false,” said de Nesnera.
Another Pinoy Prospect
Aguilar will be one of two players of Filipino descent to participate in the open D-League Energy try out in Chicago, according to McGarry.
McGarry said he recently signed FilAm prospect, Avery Scharer, a 6'2” 185 pound point guard from Shoreline Community College in Seattle.
Scharer ranked No. 3 in assists in the whole nation last year, according to McGarry.
“This guy can score, pass and is a triple double threat every game,” he said.
Scharer is half African American and Filipino. His mother is from Bauang, La Union, Philippines.
McGarry said Scharer already spoke to Philippine National Coach Chot Reyes. Reyes, according to Avery, has expressed his desire to see him play in person and perhaps join the National Team.