Ginebra wins Christmas Clasico anew
Paul Lintag on Dec 25, 2016 08:33 PM
JAPETH LIKE IT'S HOT. Aguilar's career game pushes Ginebra past Star in another Christmas Clasico victory.
While it didn't feature the cardiac finish from last year, the 2016 version of the Christmas Clasico remained the same.
Behind a career game from Japeth Aguilar, Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel scored a big victory over Star in the PBA Philippine Cup, 86-79, Sunday at the Philippine Arena.
Aguilar fired 32 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from deep to lead the Gin Kings to their third win this season, bouncing back from an embarassing effort against Alaska a week ago. For good measure, the 6'9" pogo stick of a man also grabbed 12 rebounds, 12 more than what he recorded vs. the Aces.
Up by as much as 12 points, Ginebra had to rely on Aguilar's timely shooting to hold off the fighting Star side who came into the highly-anticipated Christmas Day matchup as winners of three straight games.
With this victory, Ginebra's seventh straight Christmas Day win, the Gin Kings tied the Hotshots in the standings to end 2016 with identical 3-3 cards.
"I'm glad it was a little Merry for us," said head coach Tim Cone. "I'm glad we honored the fans with a good game, both side, it was a defensive battle, a lot of character in that game."
Aside from Japeth, Joe Devance was the only Gin King to finish in double figures with 17 points but Ginebra did drew a herculean effort from Scottie Thompson as the sophomore win grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds on top of seven assists and five points.
Over at Star, Paul Lee scored 20 points in his first taste of Manila Clasico action but it was not enough to tow the Hotshots to a fourth-straight win. Marc Pingris and Allein Maliksi added 14 and 13 points respectively.
In front of over 20,000 fans at the Iglesia Ni Cristo-owned arena, the Hotshots were able to control the first six minutes of the contest before the Gin Kings staged a 13-0 run to turn the game around early.
Down 10 at the break, Star was able to close in on Ginebra in the third period behind Lee and Pingris but Japeth's perfect shooting did enough to keep the Gin Kings in control into the fourth, 62-61.
GINEBRA 86 - Aguilar 32, Devance 17, Tenorio 7, Mariano 7, Thompson 5, Taha 5, Caguioa 4, Marcelo 4, Ellis 3, Mercado 2, Ferrer 0, Helterbrand 0, Cruz 0.
STAR 79 - Lee 20, Pingris 14, Maliksi 13, Ramos 7, Dela Rosa 6, Barroca 6, Melton 5, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Sangalang 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 25-16, 45-35, 62-61, 86-79
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8