Johansen Aguilar: A Legacy of Excellence
Published on April 21st, 2014 | by JC Gonzales
For quite some time, majority of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) fan base were focused on the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball tournaments due to their tremendous fluctuations in terms of their popularity.
With much of the spotlight focused in savvy hoops and power spikes, the UAAP fan base haven’t seen the other talented athletes on a regular basis since they aren’t given much exposure by the media.
One of those athletes is former Green Tanker Johansen Aguilar.
In a nutshell, Aguilar is considered as one of the premier swimmers in La Salle sports history given his impressive resume of bagging 2 championships and 2 runners-up finishes in his 5 years of playing in the UAAP. In addition, La Salle’s ace swimmer even made bigger waves after he bagged three Most Valuable Player (MVP) plums during his career.
The Humble Foundations
Aguilar got his first crack in swimming when he was seven years old. A year after learning the fundamentals of it, he was already involved in a series of swimming competitions. Given his continuous exposure, Aguilar got his chance to represent the country by being part of the Philippine Swimming team even though he was still only at 11 years old.
As he grew older and with him already preparing for his tertiary education, his budding reputation in the swimming community eventually made him one of the most sought athletes in the biggest collegiate leagues in the country
When asked about his experience during the recruiting process, Aguilar calmly shared, “Hindi naman siya hardcore recruitment. Since I was swimming in high school, yung mga coaches ng colleges medyo kilala na ako. Tinatanong nila (universities) ako then may offers na sila ng scholarships and all.”
Becoming An Archer Faithful
After hearing all of the recruitment pitches from a lot of collegiate teams, Aguilar decided to enroll at De La Salle University (DLSU) wherein he decided to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics and BS in Applied Corporate Management degree program.
“Actually, before pa mag offer yung mga universities, I was already set on La Salle. Aside sa malapit siya sa bahay ko, mas feel ko na mas close ‘yung values ko and okay ako sa environment (of La Salle) na nakasanayan ko sa high school,” he added when asked about choosing DLSU.
Moreover, he expressed the importance of time management and personal discipline in balancing his academic and athletic priorities which made him become one of the top student-athletes in the DLSU system.
“Before pa talaga, when I was training for competitions, I was making sure na hindi ko naiiwan ‘yung studies ko. With the right amount of discipline, time-control, tapos self-control na rin sa part ko. Siyempre sa college may stuff na minsan distraction tapos kapag na-distract ka, nawawala yung focus mo doon sa things na mas importante,” he indicated.
Throughout his stay in DLSU, Aguilar has been performing at peak levels not only in the waters but also in his efforts to be efficient in his academic life. Consistently part of the Dean’s List, Aguilar has successfully carved his reputation of being an outstanding student-athlete.
“Actually, hindi ko naman talaga goal na maging consistent dean’s lister or latin honors, pero eventually nakita ko kaya naman pala. Kasi nung simula, I had the doubts kung kaya ba may training tapos may adjustment pa sa school,” said the Applied Eco/Applied Corporate management student.
Aguilar defines his first year of playing for the Green Tankers as the zenith of his UAAP career. Wit him experiencing difficulties in adjusting to the team’s ideologies, he immediately struck gold after capturing his maiden championship
“Nag-champion kami first year ko pa lang so parang very encouraging sa akin noon para ipagpatuloy lalo para iba din yung feeling,” Aguilar said.
Also during in his rookie season, Aguilar had the golden opportunity to be teammates with La Salle swimming legend Enchong Dee, who then played his last year in the UAAP. Dee’s depature prove to be the passing of the torch to Aguilar lead the Green Tankers for the upcoming seasons.
However, Aguilar noted that his sophomore campaign was the lowest point of his career due to number issues, and most of all, their failure to defend the title.
“Medyo ako yung isa sa mga inaasahan (during 2nd year). Medyo nagka-problems pa yung team nung recruitment. Dapat din nung year na yun is mag e-end up akong MVP pero yung last kong event na-disqualify ako due to an issue. ‘Di namin na-defend yung championship at ‘di ko nakuha yung MVP so medyo masakit para sa akin yun.” Aguilar shared.
Despite the setback he personally had in that season, he used it to bounce back and had it as an inspiration towards maximizing his UAAP eligibility years.
“Pero I think, yung low point na yun yung reason kung bakit ako umabot ng 5th year kasi yung una ko talagang plano is 3 or 4 years lang. Pero nun nachallenge ako to prove to others na kaya ko, kasi may ibang tao na nagsasabi na hindi ko daw kaya,” he mentioned.
He ended up grabbing three straight MVP awards during UAAP Season 74 to 76 year and he was also named UAAP Athlete of the Year during Season 74.
“Iyon na yung limit ko. Maxed out na sa events and 100% na talaga yun ng mabibigay ko so definitely wala namang regrets,” he added.
Just like other UAAP athletes that have graduated, Aguilar plans to continue with his studies in the University. Currently, he will be enrolling in graduate school to further expand his knowledge. Furthermore, he is open to other opportunities that may come to his career.
Leaving the squad he has played for five memorable years, he wishes the Green Tankers squad to continue as one of premier championship contenders in the UAAP.
“Basta focus lang sa training and never stop. Dapat may balance din sila sa acads and give it their all pag may competitions,” he happily concluded.