DUBAI – Big man Japeth Aguilar ushered his return from injury in a big way as he teamed up with Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio to power Barangay Ginebra past a scrappy Rain or Shine side, 93-81, in the PBA Governors Cup here early Saturday morning (Manila time).
Playing his first game in the season-ending tournament coming off a right hamstring injury, the 6-foot-9 Aguilar made his presence felt by sparking the Kings’ telling run in the fourth period that all but put the fight out of the weary Elasto Painters, playing their second straight game in just about 24 hours.
Aguilar, inserted as part of Ginebra’s starting unit, strung up seven straight points which he fueled by completing a three-point play at the 4:42 mark of the payoff period to give the Kings an 88-73 lead, delighting a sizeable weekend crowd here of mostly Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) at the Al Shabab Sports Center.
Until his offensive explosion, the Kings still stood on shaky grounds, 81-73, after seeing their early 20-point first half lead (43-23) wiped out by the Elasto Painters in the third period behind the hot hands of import Wendell McKiness.
Tenorio, who had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, to go with six assists and four steals, then put the final nail on Rain or Shine’s coffin by converting a basket for a 93-75 lead entering the final two minutes of play.
It was the second win in five outings for Ginebra, which also drew a good offensive night from Caguiao, who scored 19 points in the first half, including 16 in the first quarter as he carried the Kings on his shoulders early on.
Rain or Shine suffered its third loss in four games and failed to complete a two-game sweep of its road assignment in the Middle East.
The Elasto Painters are coming off a 119-112 win over Globalport just the other night