Photo by Jamie Velasco/Courtside PhilippinesUPDATES175
Aguilar tagged as Kings' game changer as he anchors Ginebra defense
by Reynald Magallon, January 13, 2020 6:02pm
Offense wins games but defense wins championships.
That was very well the reason why defensive ace like Ginebra San Miguel forward Japeth Aguilar shone the brightest in this stage. And his defensive performance so far was more than enough to get tagged by head coach Tim Cone as the major game changer for his team.
"It was a block party out there," said Cone referring to Aguilar's game high seven blocks to go along with his 23 points in Game 3.
"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," he added.
With Aguilar's defensive performance while also contributing the much needed points on the offensive end, Cone said that the 6'9" beanpole has been the game changer for the Kings so far in this series.
The former Ateneo standout's defensive prowess was first put in the spotlight in Game 1 when he sealed their 91-87 victory with a huge block on Allen Durham with 11 seconds left in the game. In Game 3, Cone sais his seven block basically got the ball rolling for them on the defensive end.
"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.
For Aguilar though, he was just simply doing what he does best to contribute to the team.
"Nag-start ako ng basketball yun ang naging niche ko. Shot blacker ako ever since high school and college.Ako ginagawa ko lang naman yung role ko. Alam ko yun ang isa sa strengths ko, and so I try to do it to the best of my ability," said Aguilar who also wrote his name in PBA history books along side the best shot blockers of all time.
Aguilar now sits at the no. 12 of PBA's all time blocks list with 582 blocks. The seven block in Game 3 enabled him to leapfrog from no. 14, overtaking the likes of Alvin Patrimonio, Abe King and Poch Junio.
That, however didn't came as a surprise to Cone who believes Aguilar was the best weak side defenders right now in the PBA.
"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."
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