Japeth Aguilar, a 20-year-old native of the province of Pampanga, is the first Filipino-born basketball player ever to sign up with a US college basketball team. He will debut with the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers when they battle Gonzaga in a US-televised game on November 22, 2007.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar played for Ateneo de Manila University in college before being recruited by the US NCAA Division I school. He saw very limited action during his freshman year at Ateneo due to appendicitis. His season (51 minutes of court action) totals were 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks. The following year, the healthy Aguilar averaged an impressive 5.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and a UAAP league-leading 3.2 blocks per contest. He also shot 55.4 percent (36-of-65) for the season. The Ateneo Blue Eagles finished with an 11-5 record that year, good enough to qualify for the Final Four.
The former Ateneo center has been in the US with Western Kentucky University since 2006 but had to sit out an entire season due to a US NCAA transfer rule. He has two years of eligibility left in the league, the coming 2007 season included. Aguilar has nonetheless made an impression in the US collegiate scene when he trumped the university’s slam dunk contest in October 2006.
Western Kentucky University basketball head coach Darrin Horn had this to say about the young Aguilar: “he brings the team good size and the ability to block shots on the defensive end. Offensively, he has great versatility because of his ability to play facing the basket. The fact that Japeth will be in our program for one year before being eligible will only enhance his development.”
2010 Asian Games
Aguilar is part of the Philippine National Team for the 2010 Asian Games currently being held in Guangzhou, China.