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Aguilar surprised with hot long-range shooting leading to career-high

By Ivan Saldajeno

BOCAUE--Japeth Aguilar was at his usual self when he drained his first three-pointer of the game with 2:04 left in the first half of a rare out-of-town edition of the Manila Clasico at the Philippine Arena on Sunday night.

When he made another three barely a minute later, he began checking his hands as if they were literally on fire.

He eventually finished with five made triples, and it turned out, those were also the number of times he tried shooting a three that game.

"Never did I expect going 5-out-of-5 from the three-point line," Aguilar, who came in a 24 percent three-point shooter throughout his career, told some reporters after Ginebra preserved his perfect long range game from going for naught against Star with an 86-79 win.

He even admitted, "At first, I was hesitant pa nga sa three-points eh, but when I took the first shot, it went in. I was happy. I took the second shot; it went in again. On my third shot, I was thinking, 'I'm just gonna pass it,' but when I took it, pumasok [siya]. After the fourth shot, I was really happy about it."

It turned out, Coach Tim Cone gave him the green light.

"We encouraged him to shoot threes. He hit five threes tonight. That's a huge weapon that he can use and develop as we move along," said Cone.

The 6-foot-9 stretch-four ended up with 32 points overall, a career-high, but even he was surprised he would score that much.

"I was surprised even sa offensive performance ko kasi my focus talaga, to be honest, is on defense. Coach Tim wanted na sa akin manggaling [yung defensive intensity ng team]. He wanted me as an anchor on defense," Aguilar bared.

He did impress defensively, grabbing 12 rebounds, a bounce back from a zero-board outing last Sunday against Alaska, and two blocks.

"I just wanted to crash the boards really hard," Aguilar said on his rebounding game.

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