'Other' Aguilar earns Cone praise after stepping out of Japeth's shadow
Raymond Aguilar was 'phenomenal' in the win over SMB, says Ginebra coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

RAYMOND Aguilar proved on Sunday night that two Aguilars are better than one for Barangay Ginebra.

While Japeth Aguilar held the fort inside the paint in the absence of Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance, Raymond Aguilar also stood tall by putting up 16 points, including two treys, along with two rebounds against three turnovers in a rare start for Ginebra.

The 6-foot-5 journeyman likewise stood his ground on defense against four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who’s five inches taller than him, although the SMB giant still wreaked havoc in the low block.

“He was just phenomenal,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “He guarded June Mar all game long. We didn't want to put Japeth on June Mar because we didn't want Japeth to get in foul trouble, so that chore went to Raymond. And then he hit big shots, he made big plays on his own.”

“It was amazing, he played out of his mind tonight, and I can't thank him enough at this point, because we really needed a big game from somebody,” he added.

Aguilar, however, deflected credit to his teammates for stepping up without Slaughter and Devance, as well as Art dela Cruz.

“Total team effort lang talaga,” the former National University stalwart said. “Tsaka sinabi lang ni coach, next man up. Buti nag-step up yung mga reserve niya so yun naka-tsamba ng panalo.”

“Natapat lang. I mean, sabi niya kumpiyansa lang,” he added. “Binigyan niya 'ko ng mga konting plays para sa 'kin so swerte na pumasok naman.”

“Buti yung effort namin, yung defense, tsaka pumapasok yung tira namin, so swerte,” he ended.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos