Tim Cone still wary of extending Japeth Aguilar’s minutes in PBA Finals return
MANILA, Philippines—After two months sitting on the sideline, Ginebra star Japeth Aguilar finally saw action for coach Tim Cone in the squad’s 117-103 win against TNT at Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
Cone, however, is playing it safe when it comes to his veteran big man saying the Gin Kings are still far from fielding Aguilar with his usual minutes on the floor.
“The goal was to go out and give him a feel of the game,” Cone said. “Japeth hit that jumper from the baseline and you could tell he’s not explosive at the moment but he’s still building to it.”
The All-Star was only on the court for almost five minutes, garnering just two points and a rebound in the process.
Aguilar was ruled out in February due to an MCL sprain. He was primarily expected to sit out just three to five weeks but the team made the star big man rest a bit more.
Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone praises Stanley Pringle and the rest of the team for stepping up after a rough Game 2 loss marred by Justin Brownlee's offensive struggles. | @jonasterradoINQ pic.twitter.com/fWthE1fchu
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) April 14, 2023
“We’ll continue to give him minutes and monitor how he does and decide if he can give more and more or do we need to pull [him] back again,” the top coach assured.
Prior to the injury, Aguilar posted norms of 13.5 markers and 4.0 boards and 2.0 assists per night.
When Ginebra guns for a 3-1 lead on Sunday, Cone will decide whether to gradually extend his minutes.
“Hopefully next game, we extend his minutes a bit more. Whether he’s going to go back to [his] normal minutes in this series? I’m not sure,” Cone said.