MANILA, Philippines – It was not all good news for Barangay Ginebra even after it drew first blood against NLEX in their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Wednesday, March 23.
The Gin Kings saw star forward Japeth Aguilar go down with a left calf injury early in the second half following an awkward landing. He did not return.
Aguilar tried to contest a Cameron Clark jumper with more than 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter, but he limped after his block attempt and needed to be assisted on his way out of the court.
“It put a real dampener on our win,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
Cone bared Aguilar only aggravated the injury after he hurt his calf in their quarterfinal decider against TNT last Saturday, March 19.
“He missed the last two days of practice because he was not sturdy on it. We do not know if it got worse or what happened.”
Fortunately for the Gin Kings, several of their other players rose to the occasion in their 95-86 win after Aguilar exited the game, most notably Arvin Tolentino.
Tolentino scored all of his 11 points in the second half, including 8 in their third-quarter turnaround.
The possibility of Aguilar missing time, though, would be a huge blow for Ginebra considering he has been one of their best players in their recent games.
Aguilar averaged 23.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in their back-to-back quarterfinal victories over the Tropang Giga as the Gin Kings overcame a twice-to-beat disadvantage.
Cone, however, knows he has to rely on his other wards in case Aguilar needs to sit out to let the injury heal.
“The thing with injuries, I think from a coaching standpoint is that you can only feel bad about it for 10 minutes and then you got to move on,” Cone said.
“It is a team sport, there are other guys who can step up and fill the role.”
Ginebra shoots for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five affair on Friday, March 25. – Rappler.com