Japeth Aguilar had already made a name for himself in the final series with several large defensive games. This time he got in the way a bit – most of them late in the game – when he helped Barangay Ginebra vigorously close Meralco and rule the PBA Governors' Cup on Friday night.
Aguilar scored 13 of his team's top 25 points in the last quarter, helping the Kings win a 105: 93 win in Game 5, which secured a 3-1 win for Ginebra, who won a third crown at the end of the season in the last four years – everything against the bolts.
"I just wanted to do everything for my teammates," said Aguilar after an appearance that delighted a crowded Mall of Asia Arena.
Justin Brownlee added 24 points for Ginebra and helped the Kings get 77 out of the game's last impasse with 77 and lead 84: 77 in the third quarter. The Bolts recovered at the beginning of the fourth month and shot twice in a bucket before Aguilar broke up to help the kings pull out.
The senior player of the high-flying national team was named MVP of the Honda PBA Press Corps after collecting an average of 17.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in the series Allen Durham.
Durham and Baser Amer let the Bolts fly out of the gates in the first half and buried the Gin Kings several times under a double-digit pile.
"This little ride took us away," said Ginebra's coach Tim Cone. "I felt we had the chance to win this game at half-time when we narrowed the lead to six."
"We were very sluggish early on."
Durham ended the game with 29 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists, but the Bolts, who failed to do justice to Raymond Almazan in Game 5 after the brave performance of the injured center in Game 4, simply lacked firepower to deal with the Kings keeping up, especially if they liked Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio joined the striker late in the game. "
Pringle ended at 17, Scottie Thompson added 14 while Tenorio chipped at 12.
Even Cone admitted that Almazan's injury spurred the scales in favor of his team in the series.
"We just had to take advantage of everything we could," said Cone, who won his 22nd PBA title, the highest in league history, a mile away.
Barangay Ginebra has now scored his 12th franchise crown.
Cone honored his wards and said, "I get a lot of recognition, but these guys do all the work."
Don't miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and others over 70 titles. Share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download it at 4:00 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.