Ginebra's unsung heroes: Trainers slept at Aquilar house, worked round the clock to treat injured ankle
Japeth Aguilar was fit enough to make a difference in Game Five, thanks to Ginebra's trainers. Jaime Campos

JAPETH Aguilar endured two semi-sleepless nights to recuperate from a sprained ankle and be ready for Game Five of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

After the Ginebra slotman hurt his left ankle in Game Four, two Ginebra trainers slept at his house the next two nights and had to wake him up every four hours to ice his ankle.

The treatment seemed to work as the trainers, according to coach Tim Cone, ruled Aguilar at 85 percent ready when he came to practice on Saturday, before improving to 95% healthy on game day.

“I don't know how he was sleeping, but they came in today and they thought he was around ninety-five percent now, so, we gotta give him the credit, and we gotta give our trainers the credit,” Cone said after their 92-81 win on Sunday night.

“I always tell the trainers, during this series, you're our MIPs, our Most Important People in our team right now,” he added. “It's their job to keep us fresh and energized and recovered and free of injury and sickness. People underestimate how important that part of the staff is especially during a long grind it out series like this.

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Aguilar should be grateful as he appeared fully healed, coming through for the Gin Kings with 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting, eight boards, three blocks, and two assists against only one turnover in 37 minutes.

Some encouragement from Game Four hero Jayjay Heltebrand also helped.

“Bago mag-start yung game, sinabihan ako ni Jayjay na wag ko isipin yung injury ko kasi baka I’ll play tentative,” Aguilar said. “Sinabi ko lang sa sarili ko na sobrang importante nitong game na ‘to at hindi ko kailangan i-baby.”

The 6-foot-10 forward came out aggressive as he scored six of his output in the first where they established a 14-point lead.

“Kailangan kami mag-initiate talaga, yun advice samin ni coach Tim,” Aguilar said.

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos