JAPETH TO THE RESCUE
Six-foot-nine Aguilar buries
game-winning triple to send
Ginebra to PBA quarterfinals
Japeth Aguilar canned a three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to power the Barangay Ginebra Kings to a cardiac 110-107 win over the NLEX Road Warriors at the close of the elimination round of the 40th PBA Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The thrilling win allowed the Kings to clinch the last quarterfinal ticket but a daunting task awaits the league’s most popular team as they will have to survive a twice-to-win handicap against the number one seed Alaska Aces.
The quarterfinals will start tomorrow with the twice-to-beat GlobalPort Batang Pier (fourth seed) taking on the defending champions Star Hotshots (fifth seed) in the first game. The main game will pit the Kings versus the Aces.
The other quarterfinal pairings will have the San Miguel Beermen (second seed) going up against the Barako Bull Energy (seventh seed) and the third-seed Rain or Shine Elasto against the sixth-seed Meralco Bolts.
San Miguel and Rain or Shine are twice-to-beat against their foes.
Ginebra went into the match facing elimination after the Kia Carnival edged out the Meralco Bolts, 88-85, in yesterday’s first game.
Kia’s win led to Talk N Text’s ‘elimination, marking the first time in two seasons the squad failed to get past the elimination round.
A win by Meralco, Talk ‘N Text’s sister-team, would have carried the Tropang Texters to the quarters and eliminate Kia and Ginebra.
Also, Kia needed to win by 17 points to grab the last quarterfinal ticket and eliminate Ginebra and the Texters regardless of the outcome of the Kings-Road Warriors tussle.
Though it won by just three points, Kia still had an opportunity to earn its first-ever playoff appearance in its maiden campaign if Ginebra lost.
Things looked good for Kia when the Road Warriors led by as many as 14 points against Kings.
Aguilar, however, saved the day for the Kings as he sank the dagger that shut the playoff door for Kia.
After a long chase, Ginebra finally surged ahead in the dying minutes after a split free throw by Dave Marcelo gave the Kings a 107-105 lead with 42.5 seconds left.
The Road Warriors managed to tie the count at 107 when Asi Taulava completed a putback with 15.8 seconds left.
That set the stage for Aguilar’s heroics.
Ginebra import Orlando Johnson drove to the paint and found Aguilar, who sank the game wining triple from the deep left corner.
NLEX couldn’t force overtime as KG Canaleta missed a three-point shot at the buzzer.
Aguilar finished with just seven points but delivered the game’s biggest shot.
LA Tenorio and Johnson finished with 21 points each for the Kings, while Asian import Jiwan Kim added 16.
Michael Madanly paced the Road Warriors with 36 markers, while Taulava had 16.
Subscribe to our regional newsletter
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.