Japeth nails it!

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

MANILA—Japeth Aguilar fired a buzzer-beater triple as Barangay Ginebra nipped the Meralco Bolts, 83-82, in the 39th PBA Philippine Cup elimination round at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City yesterday.

The 6’9” Aguilar hit the game winning triple off a pass by LA Tenorio as time about to expire to save the day for the Kings, who avenged an 100-87 setback to Meralco in their first meeting on Dec. 3.

He also nailed a triple that lifted Ginebra San Miguel to a 97-95 edge over Talk ‘N Text last Dec. 8. And with the victory, Aguilar’s heroism kept the Kings on top with a 9-1 win-loss slate, while dropping Meralco to a tie with Barako Bull at the eighth to ninth spot with identical 3-7 cards.

Big guys

“It was the same play as with Talk ‘N Text but with a lot of options. The credit goes to my big guys. Credit also to Meralco because they played great, especially on defense. They controlled our big men and our shooters as well. Suwerte lang talaga. Nagawa namin ‘yung game plan namin.

Malaki na ang improvement namin ngayon kay sa noong una naming pagtatagpo ng Meralco,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin.

Both teams, playing their last game for 2013, fought closely, resulting to several lead changes and 10 deadlocks. The last was at 73-all with only 3:25 remaining. But Reynel Hugnatan completed a three-point play off a foul by Greg Slaughter to break the tie and moved Meralco to within three points, 76-73, with some 2:38 left.

Jared Dillinger scored on a jumper while Mike Cortez split a charity to post Meralco’s six-point lead, 79-73, with only 1:30 to go.

Aguilar scored Ginebra’s last seven points and Jay-Arr Reyes connected a triple in the final 12 seconds to escape with the victory.

The 7’1 Slaughter topscored for Ginebra with 17 points, while Aguilar finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Mac Baracael had 14.

Jared Dillinger led Meralco with 16 points, Hugnatan settled with 13 and Gary David finished with 12.

Meanwhile, Rain or Shine tries to prove its mastery over San Mig Coffee while Globalport seeks its fifth win as it takes on slumping Barako Bull on Sunday also at MOA Arena.

The Elasto Painters, fresh from their 99-95 pulsating victory over Barako Bull last Friday, face the Coffee Mixers at 5:15 p.m.

Globalport, which is toting a 4-5 win-loss slate, takes on Barako Bull at 3 p.m.

Coach Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine will again lean on 6’2” forward Jeff Chan, who fired 34 points, including a game winning triple in the last 8.2 seconds to escape with the win over the Energy Cola the other day.

Guiao expressed confidence they can withstand the challenge of the Coffee Mixers, despite the continued absence of Beau Belga, who is having measles. Rain or Shine escaped with an 86-83 triumph over San Mig Coffee in their first meeting on Dec. 6.

In Belga’s absence, the Elasto Painters will make do with 6’5” Jay-Arr Quinahan and rookie 6’7” center Raymond Almazan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 29, 2013.


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