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Historic PBA Governors' Cup Finals stint part of Japeth Aguilar's role as prime blocker

Japeth Aguilar has been stellar defensively for the Barangay in the finals. PBA Media Group
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—The PBA Governors' Cup Finals have been a monumental one for Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar.

While many fans know the six-foot-nine forward for his high-flying antics, this series has just cemented his status as the game's best rim protector in modern times.

Aguilar is spectacular so far in blocking the basketball, averaging 3.7 swats per game through three matches.

Aguilar opened his account with three blocks in Game 1, but his last two swats, including the game saving rejection against Allen Durham's potential equalizer, were historic ones as the said defensive gems put him in 15th place in the all-time blocks list, overtaking Ricky Relosa and tying Alvin Patrimonio for 14th.

Although in a losing effort, Aguilar had one swat in Game 2, which was enough to break the tie with Patrimonio, and he bounced back with seven in Game 3, the most by a local in a finals series in recent history.

What's more: Aguilar's seven-block output put him in 12th place in the all time blocks list, overtaking
Abe King and Poch Juinio.

But according to him, he is just doing what his role has been.

"Ever since nag-start ako ng basketball, yun ang naging niche ko. I mean shot blocker ako ever since high school and college. Ginagawa ko lang role ko," the former Ateneo Blue Eagle and Western Kentucky Hilltopper said on Sunday night after his seven-block performance at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

He then added that he is just making the most out of his strength, which actually stems from his leaping ability.

"Alam ko yun yung isang strength ko, so I try to do it in the best of my abilities," Aguilar further quipped.

However, he also said that his Ginebra teammates should be given credit as well.

"It's a collective team effort. Kaya ko nagagawa yung mga help defense ko kasi confident ako na tutulungan din ako ng mga teammates ko," Aguilar added.

With him also averaging 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, and 0.7 steal a game as well so far, he is making a strong case for the Finals MVP award assuming the Barangay prevail over the Meralco Bolts.

Ginebra now leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 set on Wednesday night back at "The Big Dome".

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno