BIG man Japeth Aguilar was not around and Barangay Ginebra was playing its second game in the PBA Philippine Cup in the last three days.
Those however, are not valid excuses for the Kings for their disappointing showing in a 79-73 loss to the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena.
Guard Scottie Thompson echoed what a disappointed coach Tim Cone briefly told the team inside the dugout.
“Like what Coach Tim said, hindi dapat excuse yung wala si Japeth,” said the sophomore player. “No excuse na wala si Japeth.”
But the truth is, the absence of the 29-year-old Aguilar – out with a hyper-extended elbow injury – told heavily on the Kings on both ends of the floor.
His absence was just too much to overcome even for a team as talented as the Kings.
“Malaking kawalan si Japeth. Sa ngayon hindi kami sanay,” said Thompson.
Playing back-to-back games also affected the Kings, who are coming off a tough 99-90 win over Blackwater on Friday night.
Thompson grabbed 16 rebounds in the game against the Elite, but was later saddled by a strained back that held him to just eight boards this time. He did finish with 10 points and three assists.
“After nung game ng Friday, halos lahat kami sore (ang katawan),” he said. “Ang tight ng galaw namin. Yung game namin na back-to-back medyo tough (sa amin). Medyo kinapos lang kami.”
Ginebra evened its record at 5-5 and is currently tied with Blackwater for the seventh and eight spots in the heated race for a quarterfinal berth.
The Kings end their elimination round campaign on January 29 against also-ran NLEX.