(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The Gin Kings win despite missing Greg Slaughter but more lifts from the other Aguilar.
Heading into last night's big game between the two sister teams, many have been saying that the San Miguel Beermen, a team that was aiming for a sixth consecutive victory, have the upper hand against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings who were still without a star center, Greg Slaughter and forward, Joe Devance. Why? Despite missing Alex Cabagnot, the reigning Philippine Cup champions still have 4 of their 5 starters active and playing. So technically, it should have been an easy win for June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen.
As it turned out, the Gin Kings didn't miss Devance and Slaughter as they found a way to shut down the monstrous Fajardo in the second half as they held for a 100-96 come-from-behind victory over the Beermen. That game was a roller coaster ride for both teams as both of them held a double-digit lead early on only for Ginebra to slug it out as they held on to end their three-game losing streak.
In a game that went wire-to-wire in the final minute, the Gin Kings did some things that enabled to become the first team to beat San Miguel this season. Below are the important things that Tim Cone and his boys did:
Japeth isn't the only Aguilar on Ginebra
Japeth Aguilar is known as Greg Slaughter's partner as the dynamic duo is known as Ginebra's Twin Towers. With Gregzilla still not playing, Japeth is all alone. Fortunately, there's another Aguilar whom Tim Cone is very much thankful for. His name is Raymond Aguilar. To begin with, Raymond Aguilar opened the scoring for Ginebra on a three-pointer as a part of his 5-point run to open the game. By the end of it, he had 16 points on 7 for 14 field goal shooting which included 2 three-pointers. But more than his offense, Raymond Aguilar was praised by Tim Cone for his defensive effort against June Mar Fajardo after defending the 4-time MVP in the second half as Japeth succumbed to foul trouble.
Defend the Three-Point Line
Aside from relying on their superstar center in Fajardo, San Miguel is also equipped with players who can make it rain from downtown, Unfortunately, Ginebra challenged every single three-point attempt by the Beermen that San Miguel players missed even open shots including Arwind Santos' last two attempts which could have tied the score or given the lead to the Beermen in the dying seconds of the game. How poor was San Miguel from deep? The Beermen only nailed 5 of their 29 attempts from the three-point line.
Tenorio's Brilliance Continues
LA Tenorio stood the tallest for Ginebra in a game that saw Fajardo explode for 33 points. Tiynente led the Gin Kings with 23 points on 7 for 16 field goal which included a 4 for 7 shooting from the 3-point line. He dished out 6 assists, stole the ball twice and even had a blocked shot. All of those in 39 minutes of play.How old is Tenorio again?
With the schedule becomes slightly easier for the Gin Kings from this point on, Ginebra can use this big win to improve on things that needed improving. If Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance can suit up soon, that would be good. But if not, Ginebra will do just fine because they defeated San Miguel without them.