MANILA, Philippines – Japeth Aguilar is likely to miss the rest of the elimination round of the PBA Governors’ Cup as he continues to nurse a knee injury that will also keep him out of Gilas Pilipinas duties.
Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone said Aguilar will be sidelined for a couple more weeks after sitting out his fourth straight game of the season-ending tiff, which ended with Ginebra thwarting Blackwater, 119-93, on Sunday, February 19.
“He could be gone anywhere between… from today, I would say anywhere between three and five weeks. I would say he might be back late, late in the playoffs. We’ll see,” said Cone.
Aguilar sustained the injury last February 8 in the second half of a come-from-behind win over NLEX.
Without the high-flying forward, the Gin Kings saw their unbeaten three-game start snapped and suffered back-to-back losses to Magnolia and TNT.
“Right now he is immobilized, his knee is immobilized, so we cannot really figure anything out until he frees his knee and starts exercising, then we’ll have a better idea on when he’ll be back,” said Cone.
As Aguilar misses key games for Ginebra, he will also sit out the Philippines’ two-game home stand against Lebanon and Jordan later this February for the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Cone, an assistant coach for Gilas Pilipinas, said the absence of Aguilar and Kai Sotto is a huge blow to the national team.
“It is really tough for this upcoming window. Those two guys, we really relied on a lot. But we’re going to try to figure out ways to do it differently, just like we’re trying to figure out ways to do it here,” said Cone.
Fortunately for Cone and the Gin Kings, Christian Standhardinger has held the fort while Aguilar recuperates.
Standhardinger showed the way against the Bossing with 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in 36 minutes of action.
“Christian has now gone from playing 26, 28 minutes sharing time with Japeth; now he is up to 42, 44. His job is really cut out for him right now. We expect a lot from him and he is obviously delivering.”
With stars Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, and Jamie Malonzo joining the national team for the sixth window, Ginebra gets a week-long break before it resumes its PBA campaign against Meralco on March 1. – Rappler.com
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