JAPETH Aguilar's timing is almost always perfect.
The high-flyer played his best game of the PBA Governors' Cup in Friday’s big win over TNT at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum- a game which frontline partner Greg Slaughter sat out due to a dislocated thumb.
“He had a great time tonight,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone of Aguilar, who lit up for a conference-high 29 points to go along with his 10 rebounds to help lead the Gin Kings to a 96-93 win over the KaTropa.
“He was really active around the rim, putting putbacks, diving hard, getting a lot of cuts and dives and that’s truly when he’s at his best is when he is doing stuff like that.”
Cone said Aguilar’s aggressiveness off the offensive boards and other hustle plays that leads to bonus baskets are exactly what Ginebra needs, especially with Slaughter out.
“Getting out and trying to isolate on the perimeter and even posting up is not truly his game. He could do those things but it’s not truly his game. His true game is really diving and cutting to the rim and following guys to the rim and cleaning up the garbage and he did a tremendous job tonight,” said Cone.
“That’s what makes us really tough. It’s when he does that kind of stuff, we are really, really tough. Because he is just a huge presence and nobody can get up as high as he can, even the imports. He just towers over everybody with his long reach and jumping ability. He was awesome tonight. Defensively too, he was good. He really stepped up in Greg’s absence,” said Cone.
Aguilar said playing 33 minutes, the most in a game this conference, played a huge role in his excellent play against the KaTropa.
“Siguro medyo mas marami playing time ko. Pero ganun talaga ‘yung basketball. Sometimes kasi, I just tried to play hard, play within the system, focus sa game plan namin sa defensive game plan namin. Nagkataon lang talaga na ‘yung bola, napupunta sa akin. Tinetake ko lang every opportunity kung ano mabigay,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar also said he was focused on the game, knowing the importance of Ginebra climbing to a tie for fourth place with San Miguel with a 6-3 slate.
“Coming into this game, focus talaga ako na huwag magkamali sa defense. Expected naman na may lapses. It’s been a while na nag-start din ako ng game. Naging iba lang routine ko this morning papaunta sa game, ready lang ako to set the tempo for the rest of the game,” said Aguilar.