Aguilar hits game-winner as Ginebra completes Govs Cup playoff cast
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel was in full supply of big shots as it saved its conference and advanced to the playoffs after escaping the NLEX Road Warriors, 110-107, in the 2015 PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday, June 24 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
From playmaker LA Tenorio to Asian import Kim Jiwan and, finally, the biggest one of all, to Japeth Aguilar for the win.
“I told them if you want it you gotta do it,” said head coach Frankie Lim, whose team was in danger of being eliminated due to inferior quotient.
Aguilar, who had just 7 points and 8 rebounds for the entire game, shot Barangay Ginebra into the quarterfinals with the open go-ahead corner three-pointer off an Orlando Johnson kickout pass with 1.7 ticks left. It was Aguilar’s lone attempt from that area all game.
“That made me look good,” said Lim, who admitted he drew up the play for either Kim or Johnson but Johnson took it strong to the defense and found Aguilar alone in the corner.
Tenorio, who topscored for the Gin Kings with 21 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, rattled in an earlier trey that put his team on top, 104-103 with under two minutes to go.
Korean shooter Kim also buried a triple 26 seconds earlier to counter a Mark Borboran baseline jumper, 101-100, as Ginebra answered every NLEX rally. Kim, who was nursing a flu over the past few days, shot 4-for-10 from long range to finish with a career-high 16 points and 6 assists.
“We had added firepower, we needed a scorer badly,” Lim shared how Kim changes things for the Gin Kings. “He makes good decisions. He doesn’t force shots.”
Import Johnson added 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists while Greg Slaughter had 14 markers and 8 boards. Spry guard Emman Monfort was valuable once more off the bench with 11 points and 4 rebounds.
With the win, Ginebra hit a league-record of 25 straight conference playoff appearances dating back to the 2005-2006 season, surpassing San Miguel Beer, according to PBA Head Statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Asian import Michael Madanly exploded for his own career-high 36 points on 14-of-24 field goals to go with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Big man Asi Taulava contributed 18 markers, including 9 in the fourth and key baskets down the stretch that gave the Road Warriors a fighting chance.
Import Alexander Kwame added 12 points and 15 rebounds in a lackluster showing that saw get fouled out with 43.9 seconds remaining. Borboran and Pamboy Raymundo chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively, as NLEX goes back to the drawing board in the off-season.
The Road Warriors, which led by as much as 14 in this game, finished the Governors' Cup with a 3-8 record.
Ginebra comes in as the 8th seed in the quarterfinals and will have top-seeded twice-to-beat Alaska as their foe on Friday, June 26.
GINEBRA 110 - Tenorio 21, Johnson 21, Kim 16, Slaughter 14, Monfort 11, Mercado 9, Marcelo 9, Aguilar 7, Brondial 2, Pena 0, Baracael 0.
NLEX 107 - Madanly 36, Taulava 18, Alexander 12, Borboran 11, Raymundo 10, Canaleta 7, Villanueva J. 5, Cardona 2, Lingganay 2, Villanueva E. 2, Arboleda H. 2, Wilson 0, Ramos 0.
Quarter scores: 21-29, 50-55, 78-85, 110-107.