Aguilar lifts Kings past Bolts
BEATING the only team that tripped them this season was a coronation of sorts for the Barangay Ginebra Kings. And the King named Japeth Aguilar made it happen.
The 6-foot-9 high-flyer struck from an unlikely range, drilling a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Barangay Ginebra to an 83-82 win over Meralco yesterday and remain on top in the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
With the clock winding down and Anjo Caram draped all over him, LA Tenorio whipped a pass to Aguilar, who swished the triple over Reynel Hugnatan without hesitation to cap the dramatic comeback that brought cheers to the Ginebra faithful no end.
“It was a win or lose situation so I had no choice but to put up a shot,” said Aguilar, who finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. “Luckily, it went in.”
Making it unequivocally clear that they are the heavy favorites to win the title, the Kings raised their record to 9-1 while slapping a fourth straight loss on the Bolts, who fell to 3-7.
The Petron Blaze Boosters revved up in the final half and rolled to an emphatic 105-91 victory over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the second game.
Marcio Lassiter had 22 points and Arwind Santos added 19 as the Boosters regrouped from a 83-97 Christmas day debacle at the hands of the Gin Kings and remained second with an 8-2 slate.
The Blazers forced the Tropang Texters to an atrocious 3 of 21 field goal shooting in the third while sinking 63 percent (12 of 19) of their shots to send their victims into a tie with idle Rain Or Shine (6-3).
The Bolts pulled off a king-sized 100-87 upset over the crowd favorites on Dec. 3 and seemed headed for a repeat by taking a five-point lead, 82-77, with 12.8 seconds.
The Kings moved within a basket after Jay-Ar Reyes hit a three from the corner and John Wilson, one of Meralco’s reliable snipers, missed two free throws to pave the way for Aguilar’s heroics.
“I must give credit to Meralco. They controlled our bigs and our shooters,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin, who stretched his team’s winning run to six games. “But luck was on our side.”
The Kings dominated the first quarter to open a 27-20 advantage but the Bolts rallied to peg the halftime count at 40-all.
Meanwhile, Globalport (4-5) tackles struggling Barako Bull (3-7) at 3 p.m. today, also at MOA Arena.
Streaking Rain or Shine (6-3) attempts to make it three in a row at the expense of San Mig Coffee (3-6) in the other match set at 5:15 p.m.
GINEBRA 83—Slaughter 17, Aguilar 15, Baracael 14, Tenorio 13, Ellis 7, Caguioa 6, Urbiztondo 5, Reyes 3, Monfort 2, Helterbrand 1, Mamaril 0.
MERALCO 82—Dillinger 16, Hugnatan 13, Wilson 12, David 9, Cortez 8, Caram 6, Sena 6, Allado 6, Guevarra 3, Hodge 3, Al-Hussaini 0.
Quarters: 27-22, 40-40, 59-60, 83-82
PETRON 105—Lassiter 22, Santos 19, Lutz 16, Cabagnot 12, Tubid 8, Kramer 8, Taha 6, Deutchman 6, Lanete 4, Duncil 2, Ross 2.
TALK ‘N TEXT 91—Castro 23, Fonacier 19, De Ocampo 12, Seigle 10, Reyes J. 7, Baclao 4, Poligrates 4, Carey 4, Aban 2, Williams 2, Anthony 2, Alapag 2, Celiz 0.
Quarters: 17-27, 45-52, 76-64,105-91
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