The Kawasaki Brave Thunders declared that Pablo Aguilar would not be continuing in their ranks on the first of June after three seasons. Two weeks after Coviran was promoted to the Endesa League, there was enough reason to spark speculation. But, many people will have to wait to see what was obvious.
Nagasaki Velca is a growing project in a country that continues to develop basketball. The international power forward just signed for Nagasaki Velca. He must speak out to explain his decision.
-It's hot here in your city.
-Yes, I returned at the best time in the year... (laughs). There are days when it is impossible to be out on the streets!
-You have successfully completed your third campaign in Japan. What's the balance?
Sportingly, very good. The club won the second Emperor's Cup consecutively, which is a great achievement. It was a season full of ups and downs. It was strange to be in the league. There was lots of covid and injury to the team. We didn't have enough players and didn't arrive on time in the league semifinal. This led to us losing the league final. It's a good balance with a title, some league semis and it's not great because we couldn't finish.
Is the Cup as important here as it is elsewhere?
-Yes. It is also played in a similar format to Spanish soccer, where teams from the B1 (first division), B2 and 3 play. It is organized by four teams, each team playing a semifinal and final. The champion at each venue wins the round.
The most evolved league in recent years is Japan's Japanese League. Are you able to keep up with that pace?
It will continue to grow without a doubt. They have at least eight to nine Japanese players on each team. Because they play for long periods with high-level players, the international level is rising and locals are getting better. It is a sport that continues to grow in Japan.
After three seasons, he has left Kawasaki Brave Thunders. Many saw it as the final season.
It is possible in Japan, but it is not there. He was the only player who had to be renewed after he finished the season. They said they wanted me to stay, and we talked about the season's balance and the idea for the next year. After they presented their proposal, we had a fairly normal negotiation that didn't result in an agreement on many points. They placed me on the "free agent" list. This is mandatory in Japan if you don't sign again, even if you are still negotiating with that group. As in the ACB, there is no right to first refusal. You cannot form a bond with anyone.
-The original idea was to keep Japan going.
-Yes. They have had many great years together, both on a personal level and in sports. She had no reason to believe that he wouldn't want to remain there at first.
You also know that speculations have soared in tandem with the rise Coviran.
-Yes. It's something I enjoy on the one side, and it is nice that they want to see you return home.
- Are you still in touch with the team?
-No, nothing formal. As is the norm, they were very focused on administrative issues related to admission to ACB. Although we met at a booth, it was informal as I have a great relationship with them all.
-But, did you think of returning when the team was being raised?
It's my home team, and I have been following it throughout the year. It was even more impressive, as it was created at the first national. You will be blown away when your team is selected. I have always said that I would love to return someday.
-Did your dare to even watch the matches live on TV?
I haven't seen them all, but I have seen the Cup and league twelve. Many early mornings have been had. They almost always play on Saturdays and Sundays in Japan. I find it difficult to fall asleep after these games. Coviran used play at two in the morning, so if I wasn't awake, I would stay.
-He actually says that the ACB isn't keeping him awake at night, but that Granada is.
Yes, it would be easier for me to see the house with better eyes. Actually, my eyes are the best in Spain.
But it is now official that he will remain at least one year in Japan. He just signed for Nagasaki Velca. What made him decide to sign for Nagasaki Velca?
It is a club that is created by a businessman who owns a soccer team. The two men have the desire to build a great basketball team, but Japanese regulations prohibit them from purchasing a B1 place. They were promoted to B2 last season. The club now has a budget of B1 but they plan to play in B2 next season with the goal of being promoted. They are certain that in 2025, Japan will have a new professional league. With a pavilion and other impressive facilities, the project is almost comparable to an NBA team in Japan. They have people who worked in the NBA (the Cleveland Cavaliers) and they have copied some of their facilities. My offer was better than any offered by B1. It is ambitious.
-How much did it cost to reduce a category?
-Not too much. The sports project is excellent. From what I have heard from former teammates, the club is interesting and so is the city. In Japan, I am at a stage in my career where I would rather play in B2 for promotion than in B1 without any chance of winning titles. To put it another way, promotion is what catches my attention more than just playing 'for nothing'.
-As a medium-term project, as it sounds. Do you intend to stay in Nagasaki longer than one year?
If all goes well, why not? It's a risky proposition and I have no idea how it will turn out. If everything goes well, I can think about it.
The most difficult task is to travel from Tokyo to Nagasaki, more than 1200 km away.
This made me question my faith from the very beginning. With a group of Spaniards, he was quite comfortable in Tokyo. I did very well in the city. The change will be huge, but they are telling me amazing things about Nagasaki. It is quieter than Tokyo and a bit more west than Tokyo. The American Air Base is located in the city, which means there is a lot cultural influence on the city's life. For example, at the level of shops, restaurants, or churches. It was difficult for me at first to think about this but I'm now more calm and eager to get started.
We will surely learn more about Nagasaki this year than the unfortunate memories of the atomic bomb.
I hope so! At the moment, I am not sure if I know enough. But I do know that there is something I need to learn.
Aguilar, 33 years old is now fully mature. Aguilar has been able to overcome the physical issues that afflicted him during his last stage in Europe. The injury to his hand closed the door to the 2019 World Cup. He also canceled his contract with Iberostar Tenerife, the ACB. He has also lost some of his national team members during his time in the Land of the Rising Sun. This was due to the difficulties that he encountered when he returned to Japan from the quarantine. When questioned about his options, the man said that the national team was "a rather closed chapter" that is now "turn for young people". Because he hasn't discussed it with Scariolo, he admits that it is a sensation.