With the naked eye, it was easy to pinpoint Japeth Aguilar as the scapegoat in Barangay Ginebra’s loss to TNT in Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
Aguilar was supposed to cover TNT forward Anthony Semerad, who torched Ginebra with four 3-pointers inside the last six minutes of the KaTropa’s 107-103 victory.
During those moments, however, Aguilar was always late to contest Semerad’s big shots down the stretch, including the game-winner from the right corner with 52.7 seconds left.
But according to Aguilar, he was just following the team’s defensive game plan which is to play the role of a secondary defender every time TNT star Jayson Castro drives.
“Actually, it’s been our defense. That’s our system on defense. So if I didn’t help on Jayson Castro’s drive, it might lead into an easy layup, so I have to be there,” Aguilar told reporters.
“Those are the chances, we played the ratio because it was easier to make a layup than a 3-pointer,” he added.
Unfortunately for Aguilar, Castro knew he’d draw the Gin Kings forward’s defense to him and Semerad would be left open in the right corner.
Aguilar tried to close out on Semerad but couldn’t despite his size and length.
Semerad put TNT ahead for good, 105-103, with under a minute left and Castro picked up his eighth and last assist.
Aguilar, though, thinks it’s on the offensive end of things where Ginebra needs to work on heading into a do-or-die Game 3 on Thursday with TNT going for a sweep.
“We weren’t able to execute our offense. They made a big shot. We kind of steered away from our offense, we played one-on-one and coach also pointed that out,” he said.