Friday’s 117-103 victory over TNT at Araneta Coliseum marked the return of Ginebra ace Japeth Aguilar from a two-month absence. Aguilar had been sidelined with an injury.
Cone, on the other hand, is playing it cautious when it comes to his veteran big man, stating that the Gin Kings are still a ways off from playing Aguilar his customary minutes on the court.
“The objective was to give him a feel for the game,” Cone explained. “Japeth made that jumper from the baseline despite the fact that he lacks explosiveness at the present and is still working on it.”
The All-Star was on the court for less than five minutes, scoring two points and grabbing one board.
In February, Aguilar was ruled out due to an MCL sprain. The star big man was anticipated to miss only three to five weeks, but the team extended his absence. Through tonight.
The head coach assured, “We’ll continue to give him minutes and evaluate his performance to determine if he can give more and more or if we need to draw him back again.”
Prior to the injury, Aguilar averaged 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
Sunday, as Ginebra attempts to extend its lead to 3-1, Cone will determine whether to progressively increase his playing time.
“Next game, we’ll hopefully extend his minutes a bit more. In this series, will he return to his usual playing time? I’m not sure,” Cone said.
Aguilar was dissatisfied with his performance in Game Three, as it was during his time on the court that TNT closed the gap after taking a 29-19 first-quarter lead.
“Mas masaya ako actually na nakuha namin ‘yung panalo na ‘to. Nung pinasok ako, nahabol eh. Medyo dismayado ako. Medyo naninibago lang ako sa laro kasi finals na ‘to. Margin of error, sobrang liit.”
“Kahit ‘yung kaninang hindi ko pag-show, medyo nag-sag ako, talagang pinagbayaran ko talaga. Masaya ako na nakuha namin ito. At least ‘yung pagbalik ko, nakakuha ng triumph,” said Aguilar.
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