CALASIAO, Pangasinan -- With an opportunity to donate a wheelchair for every dunk made in the game, Gilas mainstay Japeth Aguilar meant business in the 2019 PBA All-Star match as he showcased plenty of slam dunks to lead the North All-Stars at the Calasiao Sports Complex Sunday.
Aguilar, who was named co-MVP of the match, registered 32 points, mostly from jams, and contributed a lot of the 82 wheelchairs set to be donated after a combined 45 treys and 37 dunks.
“Mina-maximize ko lang ‘yung blessing na ito. Gusto ko rin mabigyan ng magandang show 'yung mga fans ng PBA na bihira lang ito. I only have some few more years. Binigay ko na,” Aguilar said.
He admitted that upon knowing the reward for dunks and treys, they purposely tried to do as much as they could to collect a large number of wheelchairs for Alagang PBA Foundation.
“‘Yun talaga ang goal since na may purpose 'yung dunks and three points. We really talked about it na we tried to dunk as much as possible. Either dunk or three-point lang gusto naming shot kanina,” he told reporters.
The bigman of Ginebra opened the match with barrage dunks, varying from one-handed to two-handed, to give the North squad enough cushion in the first quarter. He already had 18 after the first 24 minutes of action.
Aside from windmill and putback dunks, the crowd went crazy when Aguilar, attempted to dunk over the five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo in the third quarter. The first attempt, however, was unsuccessful.
The two, although playing for opposing teams, tried anew in the ensuing play and did not disappoint the jampacked arena in Pangasinan.
According to Aguilar, they planned the specific dunk while watching the 3-on-3 during the halftime. He is thankful for Fajardo’s help.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay June Mar na pumayag siya sa mga dunks ko kanina. Talagang nag-team up kami doon. Nung halftime habang nanonood kami ng 3-on-3 nag-usap kami. Kinausap ko siya. June Mar, thank you,” Aguilar quipped.
But despite a spectacular showing, Aguilar is not keen on joining the slam dunk contest of the PBA All-Star, citing his age.
“Feeling ko kasi may edad na ko,” he confessed. “Di ko alam. (Depende) kung how my body fare.”
Aguilar participated in the skill challenge twice before but got beaten by now record holder Rey Guevarra, who joined KG Canaleta as the most successful in the competition’s history with five apiece.
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