GILAS Pilipinas coach Tim Cone came to the defense of Japeth Aguilar after receiving criticisms from fans for his play in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, in an apparent response to the bashers, Cone explained Aguilar initially was hesitant to be part of Gilas Pilipinas again as he felt the young players deserve the spot more than him.

Cone also said Aguilar wanted to spent time with his family following the birth of his second child, who was actually born sometime during the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers last February.

The multi-titled coach, however, said he had to beg Aguilar to be part of Gilas this time following the injury of AJ Edu, and it was at that time where he finally said yes.

"I begged Japeth to join us in Latvia," Cone wrote in defense of Aguilar. "He wanted to let the young guys do it and spend more time with his wife and new baby. 

"Kept begging him. When AJ Edu went down, he finally relented after more begging," Cone added.

The 37-year-old Aguilar played sparingly in the FIBA OQT and averaged 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds. But he received criticisms from fans especially after the Brazil semifinal game where he committed two turnovers although the Barangay Ginebra big man had four points and six rebounds.

Cone said Aguilar made valuable contributions outside the stat sheet as the team captain of Gilas.

"He led us, he was our team captain. His sacrifice for country was total," said Cone.

2024-07-08T18:12:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd