SEA Games: Toroman glad to see improvement of Japeth, ex players

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2019 12:16 AM

Japeth Aguilar drew praise from former coach Rajko Toroman, who saw a more mature player perform on the court Monday night. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines—Rajko Toroman got a firsthand look on Monday night at how much his former players have grown, when Gilas Pilipinas routed Indonesia in their semifinal game in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Toroman's Indonesia had no answer for the Philippines in the second half, and Gilas ran away with a 97-70 win that secured their spot in the gold medal game.

The Philippines beat Thailand 115-81 to win the gold on Tuesday.

Included in the Philippine team are three players who were part of the original Gilas program that Toroman handled over a decade ago — Greg Slaughter, Marcio Lassiter, and Japeth Aguilar. Of the three, Lassiter and Aguilar were part of the squad that competed in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, placing fourth.

"Marcio is more mature, and also Japeth," Toroman said when asked about his former players, who combined for 13 points against his new squad.

Toroman was especially pleased with the development of Aguilar, who was just 24 when he played for the Serbian mentor in the FIBA Asia Championship. Since then, Aguilar has established himself as a cornerstone of Barangay Ginebra in the PBA and a mainstay of the national team.

"I was surprised when I was watching Ginebra with Japeth’s performance," said Toroman.

"Before, he was going up and down too much, but last two years that I can see, you know, Japeth stabilized his shape and he is one of the main part of the Ginebra team.

"You know, Japeth is a very athletic guy. I think with the maturer that he is now, his game go higher, on a higher level than before."

Aguilar, for his part, expressed his gratitude to Toroman and all that he had contributed to Philippine basketball. He has no doubts that his former coach will also be a major factor in the rise of Indonesian basketball.

"Isa siya sa mga tumulong sa basketball program dito para mag-improve. Malaki 'yung ginawa niya, and I'm very thankful," he said. "I'm very happy for him, kasi nagkaroon siya agad ng impact sa Indonesia. Their basketball program improved under him."

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2019 SEA Games