Injuries have battered Ginebra’s frontcourt but the team did not look too far for help in its PBA Governors’ Cup duel with NLEX Wednesday night.
Head coach Tim Cone gave Raymond Aguilar the responsibility to fill in the void left by Japeth Aguilar and Christian Standhardinger and the seldom-used big did not disappoint, helping the Kings beat the Road Warriors via the classic NSD.
“It was really pleasing to see Raymond go out there and do the things he does well,” lauded the league’s winningest mentor shortly after the 114-111 come-from-behind victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“He rebounded well, he dove after loose balls, and he just stayed within himself and did his job,” Cone furthered.
Aguilar played for a total of eight minutes and 22 seconds and finished with five rebounds and an assist, which led to a triple by Jeremiah Gray that sparked the Kings’ telling 13-3 run to wipe out a 108-101 deficit and finish the game.
He was indeed key in that run by hauling down the boards, although he needed to go out for a while due to blood on his uniform with 1:10 remaining after sustaining a cut on his hand — which he wasn’t aware of.
“Nung una, ‘di ko alam. Dito pala, nakalmot ako somewhere. sa kamay. Puro dugo na pala, hindi ko na rin sure, e. Siyempre dikdikan ‘yung laban,” he said.
He did come back into the game shortly after thanks to the team staff’s effort to give him a cleaner uniform, and the crowd darlings went on to complete the rally on the way to improving to 2-0 in the conference.
The 36-year-old, though, said that he simply fulfilled the role given to him with their star big men down in pain — Aguilar got hurt during the game, while Standhardinger was out due to a knee injury he suffered in practice.
“Sabi nga ni Coach, next man up so ginawa lang natin trabaho natin, kung ano ‘yung makakaya.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.