JAPETH Aguilar has made himself an early candidate for the Finals MVP award for Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Aguilar finished with 23 points in the Gin Kings’ 94-82 win over Meralco in Game Three on Sunday but was even more spectacular on defense with seven blocks in the victory that put his team up 2-1 in the best-of-seven finals.
“It was a block party out there,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “That’s one of his greatest skills. He’s got great timing, he gets off the floor so quick, and of course, he is so long. You think you got the shot off and he comes out of nowhere and does that.”
Aguilar’s defensive skills have been the game-changer for Ginebra in the series. In Game One, Aguilar also made a huge block off Meralco import Allen Durham late to preserve Ginebra’s 91-87 victory.
“Basically, he decided Game One with a block and basically, he decided the game today with his seven blocks because our game was all keyed on defense,” said Cone.
It's obvious Aguilar is having fun out there, said Cone.
“That’s something that he has been working on through the years. He’s recognized that that is a fun skill for him. It’s something that keys the team, keys the fans, and blocking shots is a big turnaround play. I don’t think there is anybody in the league that is a better weak side defender than Japeth.
“It’s a matter of him staying low, being alert, and see it coming and anticipating that shot, and going and getting it. Full credit to him because he has worked on that part of the game and the defensive side of the game,” said Cone.