BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone was glad Japeth Aguilar was able to assert himself on the defensive side at the start of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal round.
Aguilar didn’t have his usual numbers on offense after finishing with just nine points, but Cone was still satisfied with the way the 2019 Governors’ Cup Finals MVP played in his first playoff game against Meralco since winning that individual award just last January.
Ginebra won, 96-79, with Aguilar also grabbing eight rebounds and tallying a block. Meralco only shot 39 percent from the field in the Game One defeat, where Aguilar altered some of the Bolts' attempts.
“Japeth was, I felt, dominant on the defensive side,” said Cone. “He changed a lot of shots. A lot of guys missed shots when he was jumping at them. I felt he was really dominant defensively.”
Cone, however, also felt that Aguilar could have scored more had his teammates found him open in their offensive patterns.
“I felt also that we were missing him early. A number of times he was open early on rolls and seals and our guards weren’t seeing that. And then late in the second quarter, they started to pick it up and see him,” said Cone.
Cone is also happy that he was able to rest Aguilar in the fourth quarter on Wednesday in preparation for Game Two set Friday afternoon at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
“I’m glad we were able to rest him through the fourth quarter and not bring him back so that he can be ready for Game Two. He has the ability to dominate any team, Japeth does, on both ends of the floor. I’m just really happy that he is so turned on defensively. He is jumping, blocking, and trying to get every shot available. I think that’s really cool. I love seeing that,” said Cone.
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