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Japeth: (sing it with me now) he had the right move (love) at the wrong time…

So the basketball world has been rocked once again with the controversy involving Japeth Aguilar and his “change of heart” leaving Burger King and the PBA in the air with his desire to move to play fulltime with the Smart Gilas developmental team. He says he simply wants to play for the country. He admits he may have “erred” in opting to go on with the PBA draft as it was then his “dream” to play in the PBA and interestingly, it was deemed a requirement for him to join the PBA backed Powerade Team Pilipinas.

There have been various scenarios raised and threats thrown. From a lifetime ban, to a full-on suit. He has been accused that it’s all about the money and that his 2 main advisers his father Peter and columnist Ronnie Natahnielsz have given him bad and selfish advice.

Initially most people could just not swallow the “I want to be patriotic and simply play for my country bit”. I understand that its tough to buy that as the reason to bolt from the pros. But there’s got to be something more than just that. Is it then the money?

Without knowing the facts yet of what he stands to make with Gilas, the “more money” issue is hard to prove for now. Nathanielsz insists that Gilas has not made any such offer, same with Noli Eala of the SBP. But I am inclined to agree with most that it does involve a lot of money and that it’s damn close or possibly even a bit more than the rookie PBA max. Why would anyone leave for less money than the current offer right? So its a given that the money is a consideration and it seems it is significant enough either way he goes. But for argument’s sake, would that difference (if ever there is a significant difference) be the sole compelling reason to bolt from BK and the 35 year old pro league and risk all this wrath?

In my honest opinion, I don’t think so. Not unless you see Japeth, his Dad Peter, and agent Nathanielsz that much of “mukhang pera”. That’s your call and your opinion. From the little that I know of the kid, he is very humble and soft spoken. As for Nathanielsz, yes he has a colorful past in the eyes of many, but with regards to “advising basketball players” which to my knowledge he rarely rarely does, maybe best to ask Benjie Paras. Coz from what I know he was the last and only other PBA player that Nathanielsz actively advised and represented. And we all know how his career turned out and what kind of a man he grew up to be from being a hotshot rookie from UP. To add to this, to those who think Nathanielsz and Eala of SBP are in cahoots, I think you need to do more research and you’ll figure out its not a rosey picture between them to begin with. Here’s one example – http://bit.ly/La9jE

To all you Japeth haters who want his head, want him banned for life, that’s your opinion and I respect that, but let’s see you make an effort to not cheer him on when he gives his all for his country this time next year.

Take this into consideration, all athletes who play in the RP team play with heart and soul, and throw out their guts on the court. They play HARD, risking injury every single second playing for flag and country. Unlike a significant percentage of the pros who (yes may make as much now as Gilas players but…) play “pa-peteks-peteks” lang until they get their contract extensions.

So his values and integrity is also being put in question. Fine he is young. Fine his dad is jobless and is desperate to find the best path for his son to secure the family’s future. But what about the team that he is leaving who is crying foul? Who here is a true diehard Burger King fan? I know of Burger King diehards coz of their food and free wifi, but how many times have they been involved in an a wild lopsided trade that, although it is very hard to prove, they have been accused of “selling their players”. I am not categorically accusing them of anything but it’s just too many lopsided trades that were too good to true.

Just recently they again defied logic by sending away franchise player Arwind Santos in exchange for who? For what? Samigue Eman, Ken Bono, and an ageing  Chris Calaguio? All bench riders. You’ve got to be kidding me. So said firequinito (http://firequinito.com/archives/110-Burger-King-trades-Arwind-Santos-to-San-Miguel-for-a-plate-of-roasted-highland-legumes.html) too in his blog but fq goes all out to call a spade a spade.

Given that, who knows how long Japeth would stay with BK considering how many potential “franchise players” they have virtually “given away” in inexplicable lopsided trades? I even heard a wild rumor he would’ve only stayed for ONE CONFERENCE. How wild is that?

Now with regards to the legal aspect, obviously I’m not a lawyer but here’s my understanding on it, lawyers out there, correct me if I am wrong please. We have to realize it’s still a CONTRACT OFFER. Take those 2 words. First CONTRACT, one major component of which is the meeting of two minds and agreeing on all grounds among them money, length, and terms. Second OFFER, since it is a contract which needs a meeting of minds, it is still an offer. Meaning the other party had to agree then sign. So TEAM has to offer PLAYER. What is the offer for then if it’s presumed the player is in since he joined the draft?  Hence not fair to presume draftee will always sign a max offer just coz he entered the draft. Or else the system may as well just do away with a contract offer if a team gives max anyways, is that right?

So let’s go back to Japeth, given that it is bad timing and yes his ethics and “man of his word” is majorly in question. I agree with most who feel this way, but as a longtime fan of his potential, forgive me but I can’t help but to look ahead.

For example he stayed with BK and Coach Yeng for 2 years compared to spending 2 years with Coach Rajko Toroman plus the constant international exposure, where do you think he’d flourish, grow, and spread his wings more? I have the utmost respect for Coach Yeng. He is a damn good coach who’s strengths are his motivational skills (which is tough to do with pros) and being a strategist. But when it comes to honing players skills and developing young talents, I’d give the edge to Coach Rajko (specially now that Coach Yeng no longer has skills specialist Kirk Collier on his staff) considering what he’s done with Iran. And maybe we need not look too far to the middle easy, look at the jaw-dropping development of college players Barroca, Ramos, Ababou, Jazul, and Guevarra in less than a year.

And then there was the promise of Mr Lito Alvarez that he would even allow Japeth to play with Smart Gilas when needed. I really wonder if he thought this part of the offer through considering 1) Gilas will be playing as a guest team in the PBA this coming All-Filipino Conference, 2) it would be so tough for a maturing player to learn from two different styles, that of Coach Yeng and Coach Rajko, and 3) Gilas will be traveling a lot in its effort to get constant international exposure. Is it feasible to have him play and train for BK and Gilas at the same time?

I can’t help but recall I was in similar shoes. When I left GMA7 for ABS-CBN in 2004. I was in major heat. Accused of jumping ship solely for the money. I didn’t break rules, laws nor violate any contract provision, in fact I was too honest it seems. But loyalty and delikadeza was in question. But I realized I could grow and spread my wings elsewhere where I had more opportunities. It was an awkward and ugly separation at that time. But time heals all wounds, and it did. And without a doubt it has turned out better for me. I may not be a superstar but I found my niche and my “place in the sun”

To wrap it up, the analogy of a RUNAWAY BRIDE comes to mind. Don’t mind who is which gender, but point is Japeth was “engaged” with BK, but when he learned more about what life would be like with his fiancé and how he would progress in the next few years, he knew he had to take the bitter pill and pull the plug, no matter how ugly it was going to be with the loyal family of his fiancé. It always looks bad to leave someone at the alter, but in the future you’ll say “wow, he had guts, and foresight”. But as the song goes, he may just have made the right choice, but at the wrong time.

Japeth has made it clear he is sorry for the mess and is willing to face any and all consequences. For now, my fervent wish is for people to accept that the PBA will do what they can with the current rules they have, and lets wish Japeth well as he embarks on his new mission.

15 Responses to “Japeth: (sing it with me now) he had the right move (love) at the wrong time…”

  1. nice blog there TJ.. How ’bout writing another one about Mar Roxas’ decision to give way for Ninoy aquino? Just Wanna know what you think about it.

  2. nice one TJ…though what still keeps me wondering…there have been reports that Aguilar didnt want to play for the Gilas team, and as bad as it sounds, him aggreing to be drafted should deal with the repercussions right, given, BK “sells” their players, as much as us fans hate this, they can do whatever the hell they want with their players, Japeth shouldve been aware that Gilas is the way for the National Team, and didnt even bother to be drafted, who was the guy we saw shaking hands with the BK people? A guy who didnt want to play for that team? Who said that his dream was to go pro, a guy really didnt?

    my apologies for my incoherent response…though i hope you at least half understand it😛

  3. what is the difference between a player who was drafted but didn’t sign and a team who draft a player but didn’t extend a contract? I feel sad for Japeth.

  4. in the first place, why require japeth to join the draft in order to play for powerade team pilipinas? what/where is this based on?

  5. My Underlying question is, is there a ‘pre-deal’ between yeng and japeth? that japeth could play to Powerade team but he must join the draft knowing the BK will have the 1st pick?

  6. “…money is a consideration and it seems it is significant enough either way he goes. But for argument’s sake, would that difference (if ever there is a significant difference) be the sole compelling reason to bolt from BK and the 35 year old pro league and risk all this wrath?”

    what if the significant difference is double the amount he was supposed to receive for the same number of years?

    it would be great if you get that one-on-one interview.

  7. You said a mouthful. Allow me to say mine.

    “But for argument’s sake, would that difference (if ever there is a significant difference) be the sole compelling reason to bolt from BK and the 35 year old pro league and risk all this wrath?” – Point #1: you yourself said “Without knowing the facts yet of what he stands to make with Gilas, the ‘more money’ issue is hard to prove for now.” So why assume there is no significant difference? Point #2, the reason why a lot of people think it’s a money issue is because they believe there is a significant difference between what he has been offered compared to what he’ll get at BK. Point #3, Gilas or SBP may have not yet offered him anything but that’s only because the money won’t be coming from them but from Smart which could have made the offer, for all we know. Why, for instance, have they also kept their silence on this issue? You’re the journalist, why don’t you ask them.

    “In my honest opinion, I don’t think so. Not unless you see Japeth, his Dad Peter, and agent Nathanielsz that much of ‘mukhang pera.’” – You’re the one saying this. Not us or those who believe in the money issue and those who only think it’s but natural to take the best offer which when you do it isn’t really being “mukhang pera.” They are two different things.

    “…to those who think Nathanielsz and Eala of SBP are in cahoots, I think you need to do more research and you’ll figure out its not a rosy (not rosey, dummy) picture between them to begin with…” – Even the worst of enemies can easily settle their differences when they suddenly find themselves with the same vested interests. Btw, aren’t you being very defensive of your Ninong Ronnie, lately?

    “To all you Japeth haters…(blah, blah, blah)” – We don’t hate Japeth. We hate what he is doing to himself and to his family by following the advice of people who aren’t really sincere and who don’t really have his best interests in mind except their own.

    “…Unlike a significant percentage of the pros who (yes may make as much now as Gilas players but…) play “pa-peteks-peteks” lang until they get their contract extensions.” – We understand you’re with ABS-CBN which is into “balanced reporting” by not including the PBA in their news unless its bad news simply because it twice wasn’t able to get the coverage rights and is its usual vindictive self. So we can forgive you for this.

    “I know of Burger King diehards coz of their food and free wifi, but how many times have they been involved in an a wild lopsided trade that, although it is very hard to prove, they have been accused of ‘selling their players.’ I am not categorically accusing them of anything but it’s just too many lopsided trades that were too good to true…Who knows how long Japeth would stay with BK considering how many potential ‘franchise players’ they have virtually ‘given away’ in inexplicable lopsided trades? – You say you’re not categorically accusing BK of anything but you already are! What does this have to do with the Japeth issue? The PBA is a business! What BK does is its prerogative! Players in the PBA are like that can be sold, frozen or traded!You were once a broadcaster in the PBA and your father was once deputy commissioner, head coach and what-have-you, and you still don’t know this? Be honest! Say what you want to say about BK or the PBA!

    “…Hence not fair to presume draftee will always sign a max offer just coz he entered the draft…” – Yes, a player is expected to sign a max offer after being drafted because he wants to play in the PBA and that’s the most he can get based on league rules. If he doesn’t agree, then it will only mean he wants more than the max offer and nothing else. If he doesn’t want to play for a particular team, he’s stupid because then he doesn’t know what drafting means.

    “… Or else the system may as well just do away with a contract offer if a team gives max anyways, is that right?” – Excuse me po, teams don’t always offer the maximum to any player.

    “Is it feasible to have him play and train for BK and Gilas at the same time?” – Talk ‘N Text’s Jared Dillinger has said on record that he’s willing to work it out if also chosen for Toroman’s team. If Jared can try, why can’t Japeth?

    “I have the utmost respect for Coach Yeng.” – From the paragraph this sentence came from, it obviously means you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘respect.’ It was the exact opposite which you did to our Filipino national team coach.

    Good luck to you and your Ninong Ronnie. May Japeth’s career not be ruined by the kind of reasoning people who support him and those around him have.

    Thank you for the time and space.

  8. I have a relative that worked for the coaching staff of Air21(BK) before, this is not something new. Mr Lito Alvarez is really notorious in making bogus trades, sort of like “selling” their marquee players in exchange for scrubs, specially to TNT. The reason why this is, is because Airfreight 2100 can barely sustain running their franchise. Mr Alvarez adds cash stipulation clauses to their trade transactions just like any good “businessman” does to keep the franchise afloat. Heck they can barely pay their head coach. So what do you expect, Mr. Alvarez doesnt see Japeth as their savior, Japeth was their big payoff if he signed with BK.

    Really not feeling Japeth getting Nathanielz though. That guy is SHADY. Japeth is the real victim here. Guess all the kid wants is to play ball, sad that he’s in this predicament.

    • i agree with you fatty, at the end of the day when the real details come out, my view and sentiments for japeth will not change. but they most definitely may change for the people involved depending on how decent or ugly those details actually are, regardless if its Nathanielsz, Eala, Alvarez, Coach Yeng, or even Peter Aguilar

  9. thanks for your comments eman, so much to say though and tough to digest it all.

    one thing i find sad is that you seem to be ok with PBA teams selling players even if rules and lopsided trades should not allow it. so you mean you will just accept it as it is and be apathetic about it? i hope not, this country needs people who can do away with apathy.

    you can read my dad’s column in the inquirer today. the family shares the same sentiments. i understand your point in challenging me to say what i already imply, but point is i don’t think i am ready to make such sweeping statements yet. kakain pa ako ng marming bigas if you know what i mean.

    with regards to the pba not being news in abs-cbn, boy, if you only knew how much pleading i have done to get a regular pba news segment going. i agree with you its ridiculous and unfair.

    yes i can respect coach yeng and not like his coaching style for certain players. i dont see why you don’t see that being possible, but you see it feasible for a player to train with Yeng and Toroman, travel and play tournaments and still play fulltime for a pba team? maybe what jared meant is that he can leave TNT and play for Gilas for tournament proper?

    you lost me there with the “mukhang pera” thing is 2 different things…

    and lastly with regards to me being the journalist and asking him, i wish i could, but he’s not here. i have repeatedly asked Ronnie and Noli what Gilas’ offer is, and they say no offer has been made.

    as i’ve said, the truth hopefully will come out, and if my gut feel is wrong and it is purely money, i will duly acknowledge and apologize. but as this point, i can sense it is much more than that to compel him and his family to risk this wrath that they are getting now.

    thanks again eman, drop by again.

    peace

  10. Sir some few comments regarding the article you wrote and some of the comments here…

    for teams selling their players..I don’t think selling is the right term.. I would like to call it budgeting..for me,these teams would rather shipped their players with big salaries to other teams in exchange for draft picks which in the future they could offer less since they are rookies but will play at a high level..for example Arwind Santos going to San Miguel.. for me this is a case when they were supposed to have Japeth Aguilar which they could offer 8.7m and play at a high level for the next three years..they would rather have him than retain Santos which they will have to pay more since his 3 years maximum contract as a rookie for the team is set to expire this year.

    I really don’t know what’s going on since I don’t have inside access to the league just like you..these things that I am saying are just my observations…hope we all won’t feel bad about these teams who trade their star players for draft picks..I don’t like it also but what can we do? Any professional league teams will always have to look at the business side of things.. even in the NBA they do that, especially now they have this luxury tax thing.. it is just noticeable in the PBA since it only has 10 teams and the star players traded for budgeting purposes are compressed to TNT and SMC teams since these are the teams which can afford to pay multiple big pay checks..some sort of SMC and PLDT/Smart helping the teams and the players as well..

    as for japeth aguilar’s move.. I just have one short comment on it.. his intentions are good but the way he is doing it is bad..hope things will be ok for the two sides.. sorry I do not favor Japeth’s move to go to Smart Gilas after the draft.. he could have done it before the draft..if his intentions, as what he said in interviews, was really to join the RP team, then being a professional player should be the last thing on his mind..It is easy to say “wow, he had guts, and foresight”, but we were not the one left in the altar..we think too much of the other side we tend to forget the side which was left behind..it maybe a good choice, but how about the team which drafted him?

    just some things I wanted to point out..this is a great article.. hope I’ll be able to read more basketball insights from you sir TJ.. thanks…


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