No Slaughter… No Devance… No problem as Raymond Aguilar surprised everyone especially June Mar Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen fans with his defense as well as his scoring barrage helping Barangay Ginebra end its three-game losing slide.
Aguilar entered the league as an undrafted player back in 2009 and was bouncing from team after team until he found home in Barangay Ginebra San Miguel via a trade which involves the high-flyer Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo last year.
With both Ginebra reliable big-men Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance out due to their respective injuries, coach Tim Cone dug deep in his bench and initially expecting Aljon Mariano and Kevin Ferrer to take over the slack.
However, due to their youth, coach Tim Cone also understand that both Mariano and Ferrer might not be ready.
“They’re still young and we’re putting a lot of pressure on them. Their regular role is to be a support player but we need them to come out and be one of our dominant players. That’s obviously asking too much at this point,” Cone said.
So, instead of its youngsters, the veteran coach who is a master of the triangle offense tapped Raymond Aguilar and inserted him to his first-five line-up.
Aguilar didn’t disappoint his mentor and delivered 16 points plus his solid defense against June Mar Fajardo especially in the second half where the Gin Kings orchestrated its scoring surge.
“He’s phenomenal. He took on June Mar, he made big shots, big plays, he’s amazing. He played out of his mind. I can’t thank him enough,” said Cone of Aguilar who matched his career-best game with Blackwater.
Apart from Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Jervy Cruz were instrumental when Ginebra piling its lead. Each time San Miguel threatining to make a comeback, the three mentioned players were there to put out the fire.
Ginebra vs San Miguel Box Score
Quarters: 19-33, 44-52, 75-66, 100-96
Ginebra (100) – Tenorio 23, J. Aguilar 23, Cruz 17, R. Aguilar 16, Ferrer 11, Thompson 6, Mercado 2, Caguioa 2, Wilson 0
San Miguel (96) – Fajardo 33, Ross 16, Lassiter 16, Santos 12, Lanete 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Pessumal 4, Heruela 2, Mamaril 0, De Ocampo 0