PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Japeth Aguilar caps Ginebra comeback vs Blackwater with game-sealing block

Philip Matel

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Japeth Aguilar caps Ginebra comeback vs Blackwater with game-sealing block

VETERAN. Japeth Aguilar in action for Barangay Ginebra in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Barangay Ginebra storms back from 17 points down to claim the comeback win against Blackwater

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra hammered out another comeback win after narrowly avoiding the upset ax by the Blackwater Bossing, 90-87, in the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday, November 26.

The crowd darlings displayed once again their “never say die” attitude after climbing out of a 17-point hole in the first quarter and sealing the deal courtesy of a block by Japeth Aguilar to improve to 3-1.

With 4.2 seconds left and a chance to send the game to overtime, Bossing import Chris Ortiz fired a triple only to witness it swatted away by Aguilar just before the final buzzer.

Tony Bishop, who continues to fill the void left by resident Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes of action.

“We only had one day to prepare from the last game, so it was not hard to get in and get down and dirty on what you need to improve and get better at,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone after the game.

“It was a struggle again for us, but in some ways it was good for us since it was a tough game.”

Blackwater started the game scorching hot from the field, knocking down 13-of-22 field goals in the opening chapter, including 7-of-13 from downtown.

Mike DiGregorio’s corner three with 14 seconds left in the first quarter gave the Bossing their biggest lead at 36-19.

In the second quarter, the Gin Kings were able to trim the deficit to 6 points, 39-45, courtesy of Christian Standhardinger’s free throws at the 2:29 mark.

Scottie Thompson was shaken up momentarily when his left knee was knocked down by a diving Christian David, but he was able to return to the game.

Ginebra turned things around in the third quarter when Maverick Ahanmisi gave his side its first taste of the lead at 59-56 with 5:41 to go in the period.

Stanley Pringle’s three gave Ginebra a 71-69 advantage heading to the final salvo.

The Gin Kings led by as many as 8 points, 79-71, but that was quickly erased by a resilient Bossing side, with Blackwater grabbing an 82-81 edge following a pair of freebies by RK Ilagan with 6:19 minutes to go.

Standhardinger set the final tally with a layup with 2:07 minutes left as turnovers defined the endgame.

Ahanmisi and Standhardinger backstopped Bishop’s scoring effort with 20 and 16 points, respectively.

Aguilar, meanwhile, was honored at halftime as the league’s newest member of the 2,000 defensive rebound club.

The Gin Kings played without Jamie Malonzo, who recovers from a busted lip and a bum wrist that he sustained during a fall last game.

On the losing side, the Puerto Rican Ortiz scored 20 points, hauled down 10 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists, while Ilagan and Troy Rosario chipped in 15 apiece.

The Bossing absorbed their fourth straight loss since opening the conference with a win.

The Scores

Barangay Ginebra 90 – Bishop 25, Ahanmisi 20, Standhardinger 16, Pringle 10, Aguilar 8, Thompson 7, Pinto 4, Cu 0.

Blackwater 87 – Ortiz 20, Ilagan 15, Rosario 15, Hill 11, DiGregorio 8, Suerte 8, Guinto 8, David 2, Ayonayon 0, Banal 0, Casio 0, Escoto 0.

Quarters: 19-36, 41-50, 71-69, 90-87.

– Rappler.com

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