PBA Finals: Nag-focus lang ako sa kanya -- Aguilar on crucial block over Durham
Mark Escarlote on Jan 08, 2020 08:50 AM
Barangay Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar stalks Meralco import Allen Durham on defense. (Arvin Lim)
Japeth Aguilar just stayed on hard-driving Meralco import Allen Durham for the game-saving denial as Barangay Ginebra drew first blood in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals opener on Tuesday at the Big Dome.
With time under 14 seconds left in the ballgame and Ginebra protecting a two-point lead, Aguilar swatted away Durham’s potential game-tying layup before Justin Brownlee iced the 91-87 win with two charities.
“Parang alam ko kaagad na magte-take over si Durham,” said Aguilar, who had three blocks on top of 16 points.
“Ilang seconds na lang so kita ko nasa kanya na 'yung bola. Tapos nakita ko talaga,” he continued. “Ang nakita ko attack strong, so talagang nag-focus na lang ako sa kanya. Ayun. Tinry ko na lang 'yung best ko. Tapos ayun, fortunately.”
But Durham thought Aguilar should’ve been called for a foul.
“The last seconds of the game... in my opinion I thought that was a foul [Japeth block],” he said, adding that Aguilar was holding down his shoulder on his way up. “The video made it look like a foul, he was all over my shoulder. But I guess the refs said he got more ball than body.”
After the defensive play, Aguilar and Durham had some verbal exchange.
“No, nag-ano siya, nag-complain siya sa ref na tinulak ko siya,” said Aguilar.
The Ginebra star, though, admitted that he might have been too physical on the said play.
“I might have pushed him pero sinabi ko sa kanya, 'Hey I might have pushed you, pero ganoon talaga,'” he said. “Minsan natatawag 'yung call, pero minsan hindi natatawag. It goes both ways. Sinabihan ko na lang siya tapos after noon, nag-move on na ako and nag-focus na ako sa game.”
But Aguilar and the Gin Kings know that the series is far from over and they need to win three more.
“One game, it's a long series pa. At least 'yun ang mentality namin,” said Aguilar. “We're glad nakuha namin 'yung game na 'to. So for us it's just three more games.”
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