Injured finger forces Aguilar out of Gilas

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Veteran national player Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra will not join the Gilas Pilipinas’ in the 28th FIBA Asia Championship Olympic Qualifying in Changsha, China on September 23 to October 3 after he dislocated his right pinky finger during practice.

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Aguilar’s agent Danny Espiritu confirmed on Saturday that the former Western Kentucky University standout would not be able to play basketball for more than two months.

“Japeth suffered the injury during practice or recent play,” Espiritu told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “Ginebra will not allow him to join Gilas because of the situation although Japeth remains committed to play for the national team.”

Aguilar, a veteran of two FIBA World Cup including last year’s, is the second player of Ginebra (the first was LA Tenorio) to skip this year’s campaign led by new head coach Tab Baldwin.

“Japeth is currently out of Gilas because he already underwent surgery in his dislocated finger, but I’m hoping he should be good to go by All-Filipino [Philippine Cup],” said new Ginebra coach Tim Cone, winner of two Philippine Basketball Association grand slams.

In the absence of Aguilar, Baldwin will most likely depend on other forwards among them Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, Talk ‘N Text’s Ranidel De Ocampo and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Barako Bull’s JC Intal and Troy Rosario.

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