JAPETH Aguilar played down his solid defensive job on Denzel Bowles, deflecting credit to his teammates after Barangay Ginebra defeated Star, 92-87, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday.
The athletic Gin Kings forward left a huge imprint in limiting the Hotshots import to just 15 points on a paltry 6-of-18 shooting after coming in averaging 29.3 points on 51.7-percent shooting in his first four games.
“This game, isa lang 'yung mind set ko: to be committed on defense,” Aguilar said. “But I can't take all the credit. May teammates talaga, nag-step up ngayon. Lagi silang nandun sa help side every time makapenetrate si Denzel, nandun sila.”
“I know my teammates have my back all the time,” he added.
Aguilar, though, can take sole credit for rejecting Bowles twice in the payoff period, the second one a perfectly timed block in the last 46 seconds when the former Best Import was going for a layup that would’ve given the Hotshots back the lead.
“Isa ring factor kasi alam ko he would take the shot eh, he would be aggressive, so inaanticipate ko na 'yun,” Aguilar said. “But the credit hindi lang sa akin. Pati sa teammates ko.”
His exploits have earned him a reputation as an import stopper – at least on Sunday.
“Masyadong mabigat 'yung import stopper,” the 6-foot-9 cager said. “Pero committed naman ako na matuto sa ganun.”
Aguilar, who finished with 15 points, five boards, and two blocks in 29 minutes, is just repaying coach Tim Cone’s faith in him.
“Ngayon talagang learning process pa rin, kasi very honored kami na pinagkakatiwalaan kami ni coach Tim,” he said. “It's every day in practice talaga, hard work, ganun.”