Japeth Aguilar played limited minutes but made sure to make it count to power Barangay Ginebra to a 100-93 victory over Phoenix and get a fitting warm up for the quarterfinals in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup on Thursday, July 21.

Japeth Aguilar (PBA Images)

The Kings showed composure against the repeated rallies from the Matthew Wright-less Fuel Masters as Aguilar and Scottie Thompson joined hands in delivering the telling blows to keep their foes at bay and finish the eliminations with an 8-3 record.

Aguilar, who was under minute restriction as he was still recovering from Dengue fever, still led the way for Ginebra with 17 points and four rebounds in just 19 minutes off the bench while Thompson flaunted a double-double performance of 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Aljon Mariano and Nards Pinto also stepped up with 13 and 10 points, respectively, as head coach Tim Cone tried to manage the minutes of his starters as they brace for the quarterfinals which starts on Sunday.

Stanley Pringle, who was also coming off an injury, got an extended time on the floor to get his groove back and finished with 10 points.

Despite being already eliminated from playoff contention, Phoenix showed a gallant stand against the playoff-bound Ginebra behind Sean Anthony, Tyler Tio and Jason Perkins.

Perkins took the leadership role after Wright’s departure, showing the way with 17 points and seven rebounds while Anthony saved his best game in a Phoenix uniform for last with 16.

With the two at the forefront of the Phoenix attack, Ginebra was forced to dig deep to shake off the Fuel Masters who came within two, 47-45, at the half. A 17-6 run early in the third frame, however, allowed the Kings to create the much-needed separation and take a 10-point lead 76-66 heading into the payoff period.

Phoenix refused to give up in the final frame but its efforts all went down the drain as Ginebra simply had an answer to every run. The Fuel Masters exited the conference with a 3-8 record.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/07/21/playoff-bound-ginebra-fends-off-phoenix/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=playoff-bound-ginebra-fends-off-phoenix)