Japeth goes hot as Ginebra continues Christmas Clasico dominance over Star

By Ivan Saldajeno

BOCAUE—Ginebra banked in the hot shooting of Japeth Aguilar to beat Star on Christmas night for the second straight year, 86-79, at the Philippine Arena.

Aguilar buried all of his five attempts from beyond the arc en route to a career-high 32-point outing with 12 rebounds and two blocks for the Barangay, who clogged the middle of the team standings after tying their victims at 3-3.

They, however, had to secure the victory at the death.

With Ginebra leading, 75-72, Joe Devance was all alone for a layup that stretched the lead to five with 2:14 to go.

After Paul Lee split his free throws, Aljon Mariano connected a field goal to further widen the team's lead, 79-73.

Lee had a chance to keep Star in the game, but his three rattled out and Aguilar sealed the win with two free throws.

Devance added 17 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while Scottie Thompson collared a career-high 17 rebounds with five points, seven assists, and one steal for the Barangay, who are now 3-0 overall in their Manila Clasico meetings against the Hotshots on Christmas night. They have also won their seventh straight Christmas game overall.

Lee finished with 20 points and five rebounds for the Hotshots in a game where Jio Jalalon was held scoreless.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 86-Aguilar 32, Devance 17, Tenorio 7, Mariano 7, Thompson 5, Taha 5, Caguioa 4, Marcelo 4, Ellis 3, Mercado 2, Ferrer 0, Helterbrand 0, Cruz 0

Star 79-Lee 20, Pingris 14, Maliksi 13, Ramos 7, Dela Rosa 6, Barroca 6, Melton 5, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Sangalang 0, Brondial 0

Quarterscores 25-16, 45-35, 62-61, 86-79

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