All Eyes on the Puppet (Part 2)

Something made me crazily-pissed as I read the dailies this August 31, 2009.

By the way, Happy National Heroes’ Day to all!

I read about Bill Velasco’s Philippine Star column. The column is all about the hottest news of the PBA right now… and this is not Josh Urbiztondo’s signing with the Sta. Lucia Realtors. The thing is this – Japeth Aguilar joined the PBA Draft so he could play for the Powerade-RP Team in the FIBA-Asia tilt.

While I just finished writing a Japeth piece less than 24 hours ago… all I can is this is BULLS#!%!

The sense of patriotism he had 24 hours ago was basically replaced by an aura of selfishness! Who do you think he is taking an unsuspecting team hostage! Burger King has every right to get fooled here because he is the top prospect and they are the owners of the top pick. Like I said, he will fool everyone if this is the case since he is a sought-after find. It is not like he was a former MyMVP player trying his luck to join the pros! He is Japeth Aguilar damn it, a 6’9 standout from a Division 1 NCAA school!

When Ronnie Nathanielsz said that the PBA doesn’t have any reasons to ban him, he must not be thinking right. For a guy who has been a pillar in the PBA during the Vintage days and the post-Vintage days, he must know that they are a private entity. In his column, Bill Velasco cited Duke University’s Danny Ferry. Ferry played overseas rather than play for the LA Clippers. Smart move… if he didn’t do that, he probably won’t get traded to Cleveland where he was offered a 10-year deal. Sure, Ferry ended his career as a 6’10 beanpole that is only good outside the three-point area but at least he won a NBA title… with the San Antonio Spurs.

If a ban takes place, can Japeth play in the NBA? NBDL? Europe? CBA (the Chinese league)? Singapore Slingers???

If he wanted to stay as an amateur, the PBA will still ask him to play for the team. In 1992, another Duke star Christian Laetner was the token amateur guy in the USA Basketball team that was dubbed “The Dream team”. Former NCAA standouts Duke U’s J.J. Redick and Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison were taken in by current Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski to compete for roster spots during the “Redeem Team” road to the 2008 Beijing games.

Actually, you don’t need to go far with the examples. During the road to the 2006 FIBA-Asia Championships in Tokushima, RP coach Chot Reyes was in the U.S. when he saw a former George Mason standout that is half-Filipino. Yes, this is Gabe Norwood. He was discovered years after Chot Reyes discovered another Fil-Am in Kelly Williams.

If this was the case, he should have stated this early and not shock people about your determination to play for your “motherland”. He should have told team officials that he might linger to the RP Team so they could “draft” him but they’ll have to pay for the consequences.

Case in point: Jason Castro. The former many-time PBL MVP applied to the PBA draft in 2008 even if he had an existing contract with the Singapore Slingers. He was exercising his options when the fact aroused that the Slingers would no longer compete in Australia’s National Basketball League. Even if Talk N Text knows his situation, Castro was selected third overall. When it was sure for him to detach with the Slingers, Castro’s handlers baited PBA legend Johnny Abarrientos and PBA hopeful Al Vergara to replace Castro. The Slingers opted for Vergara, who saw brief action with the Purefoods Giants in last season’s Fiesta Cup (midway in the season, Vergara was called back and Purefoods had no choice but to put him in the reserved list to honor his commitment to play for Singapore).

Whatever he is doing, this is blatant arrogance. Who is pulling the strings in this puppet? When the Grizzlies were still in Vancouver, Steve Francis resisted playing for the squad. This led one of the largest trades in NBA history. While there were no stars in the trade, Vancouver collared Antoine Carr, Othella Harrington, Brent Price, Michael Dikkerson and a second-round pick. At least Vancouver had players. Burger King was left high and dry.

Remember when Alex Cabagnot used to act as a tool? Since then he has been an outstanding member of the PBA community. He signs autographs; Coke hasn’t had any AWOL issues. Hell, he even led the league in assists and steals per game, and was second to Kelly Williams in minutes per game!

But still, people think of him as a bad fate waiting happen.


Because first impressions last.

Game over.


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