PBA Governors' Cup

Japeth Aguilar reinjures calf, back to game-time decision

Delfin Dioquino
Japeth Aguilar reinjures calf, back to game-time decision

DIFFERENCE MAKER. Japeth Aguilar makes a difference for Ginebra with his inside presence.

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Japeth Aguilar's return from a six-game absence that helped Ginebra tie the PBA Governors' Cup finals against Meralco may have come at a cost

MANILA, Philippines – Whether Japeth Aguilar can play in the pivotal Game 5 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals remains to be a question.

Tim Cone bared Aguilar reinjured his calf as he saw action in the finals for the first time, helping Barangay Ginebra nail a 95-84 win over Meralco on Sunday, April 13, to tie the best-of-seven duel at 2-2.

Aguilar missed six straight games after sustaining the injury in Game 1 of their semifinal series against NLEX.

“Japeth had to leave the game. I didn’t take him out. He had to leave the game because he was starting to feel the calf injury,” Cone said as Aguilar played only under a minute in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know how badly it was reinjured. But once he went out, the trainers told me that he was out for the game,” Cone added. “That’s always, always the risk with a calf injury, that you reinjure it.”

Despite going scoreless and tallying just a single rebound in 10 minutes, Aguilar proved to be a difference maker.

He finished with a plus-minus of +10, which ranked third among his team behind Justin Brownlee (+14) and Scottie Thompson (+12).

Aguilar was on the floor when the Gin Kings erected a 17-8 run to end the third quarter that gave them a 68-54 lead entering the final period.

“You could see the impact he had on the floor. The impact defensively, the impact offensively, they had to play us a little differently,” Cone said.

“We were able to get a little bit more rest for Christian (Standhardinger) and Justin with him out there without losing a lot. We really needed him to do what he did today.”

Cone said he is the one to blame if Aguilar fails to return for the rest of the finals.

“We were trying to be really careful. I was trying not to overplay him. I only played him for like three or four minutes in the first half,” Cone said.

“I saw him getting tired in the second half, but we were making a run and I didn’t have the discipline to take him out. I should have had more discipline to take him out. If he has that injury again, that’s on me. That’s not on him.”

Cone, however, has his fingers crossed that Aguilar can suit up in Game 5 on Sunday, April 17, as Ginebra tries to move on the cusp of its fourth Governors’ Cup title in the last six seasons.

“It returns to be a game-time decision on Sunday. Hopefully maybe two or three days, if maybe it wasn’t too bad, we’ll see,” Cone said. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.