Japeth Aguilar topscored Barangay Ginebra with 20 points against Meralco. (PBA Images)

Some were probably wondering why coach Tim Cone kept Japeth Aguilar on the floor even though Barangay Ginebra San Miguel already had the game won against Meralco Sunday night.

“I left him out there the whole time, just so to get him in shape,” Cone said after Ginebra’s 105-91 victory at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Aguilar finished with a game-high 20 points, scoring nine during a nine-minute appearance in the fourth quarter, something Cone said is something he rarely does.

But Cone explained that having such exposure even in a blowout contest could bode well for Aguilar in the long run since the Finals Most Valuable Player of last season’s Governors’ Cup entered the bubble only days before the restart.

And it has resulted in averages of 9.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in wins over NLEX and Blackwater.

“We really don’t have time to get him in shape by working out because the games come so fast,” said Cone. 

“Though we have a big margin, I wasn’t taking Japeth out. That’s unusual for me, but I saw it as a purpose and to stay on the floor and keep working. Hopefully that will make him better into our next game.”

Ginebra is hoping that would be the case as it enters a stretch of difficult games against tough opponents.

The Kings return to action on Wednesday against the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, who opened the conference with two straight wins.

Next is Ginebra’s “Bubble Clasico” showdown with Magnolia on Sunday followed by a clash with another sister team in defending five-time champion San Miguel Beer on Oct. 30.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/10/19/cone-rewards-japeth-with-more-minutes-to-get-him-in-shape/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cone-rewards-japeth-with-more-minutes-to-get-him-in-shape)