Japeth Aguilar provided the crucial points while LA Tenorio supplied the timely assists as Brgy. Ginebra outlasted TNT in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Finals series, 100-94, Sunday night at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Aguilar led the Gin Kings with 25 points, including 4 of the team’s 8 in the overtime period, to go with 16 rebounds, an assist and a block in 36 minutes of action as the Gin Kings moved to within 3 games of ending a 13-year title drought in the All-Filipino conference. The 2019 Governors’ Cup Finals MVP capped his scintillating performance with a thunderous slam off a Tenorio assist to seal the deal for the crowd darlings.
“If we are going six more of these games, I don’t think my heart is going to take it,” said Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone during the post-game presser. “That was incredible. Back and forth. We took a little bit of a lead, they took a little bit of a lead, we took a little bit of a lead, they took a little bit of the lead.”
Cone was extremely pleased at his chief point guard’s apparent return to prime playing condition.
“I mean, the guy came from surgery, literally a week and a half before he came to the bubble. They told us he was 3-4 weeks out, minimum. He played his first game 13 days after surgery. That’s amazing,” said Cone of Tenorio who finished with 12 markers, 10 assists, 5 boards and 0 turnovers.
“We put the ball on LA’s hands and make him make the decisions. He was really asking for it, he was really asking for the ball. In LA we trust. He has been around for us for so long. He is used to that kind of situation when he has the ball on his hands,” he added.
Pringle added 24 while Scottie Thompson and Arvin Tolentino chipped in 15 and 14 markers, respectively.
The Gin Kings will try to make it 2-0 when the 2 teams clash again in Game 2 which is set on Wednesday, December 2 at the same venue.