Aguilar's go-ahead trey lifts Ginebra to quarterfinals

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Japeth Aguilar is not known for his three-point shooting.

But when it matters the most, he will deliver from deep.

Aguilar scored the game-winning triple as Ginebra fought back from 11 points down to upend NLEX, 110-107, in the final game of the PBA Governors' Cup elimination round at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The victory handed the Gin Kings the eighth seed in the quarterfinals, beating out via the quotient rule the Kia Carnival, who won against the Meralco Bolts but did not meet the required lead to enter the next round without needing the help of a win from the Road Warriors, who appeared to be putting the "Barangay Big Dome" to complete silence.

NLEX led, 89-78, early in the final quarter and was poised to a full control of the match.

But Sol Mercado and Emman Monfort joined forces for a 13-3 run to cut the lead to one, 92-91.

Enrico Villanueva and Michael Madanly scored back-to-back baskets to stretch the gap to five, 96-91, but a triple from L.A. Tenorio and a layup from Kim Ji-Wan forced a 96-all deadlock.

Asi Taulava hit a field goal to put NLEX back up, but Orlando Johnson made two charities to equalize anew, 98-all.

Mark Borboran scored another basket to give the Road Warriors the edge again, but a triple from Kim put the Gin Kings up, 101-100.

Taulava an and-one opportunity for a 103-101 NLEX lead with 1:53 left, but Tenorio answered with a triple to hand Ginebra the lead anew, 104-103.

NLEX missed in the next play, and Greg Slaughter widened the gap with two free throws for a 106-103 advantage with 1:13 to go.

Taulava quickly answered with an inside shot, and the Gin Kings had a tense moment as Dave Marcelo only made one of two free throws.

KG Canaleta missed a chance to steal the lead for NLEX as he missed a triple, but Borboran got the offensive rebound and called a timeout.

After the ceasefire, however, Borboran missed a shot and Madanly flubbed the follow-up. Taulava colored the offensive board and hit the third-chance points to tie the game, 107-107, with 15.3 seconds remaining.

Johnson drove through the basket but later kicked out the ball to Aguilar, who swished the corner triple in for a 110-107 Ginebra lead with 1.7 seconds left. NLEX failed to counter Aguilar's three-pointer at the final buzzer.

Tenorio and Johnson each scored 21 points for the Gin Kings, who will take on the twice-to-beat Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals.

Madanly led the Road Warriors with 36 markers.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 110-Tenorio 21, Johnson 21, Kim 16, Slaughter 14, Monfort 11, Mercado 9, Marcelo 9, Aguilar 7, Brondial 2, Pena 0, Baracael 0

NLEX 107-Madanly 36, Taulava 18, Alexander 12, Borboran 11, Raymundo 10, Canaleta 7, J. Villanueva 5, Cardona 2, Lingganay 2, E. Villanueva 2, H. Arboleda 2, Wilson 0, Ramos 0

Quarterscores: 21-29, 50-55, 78-85, 110-107