Barangay Ginebra San Miguel was missing one of its key pieces from past title runs when Japeth Aguilar did not suit up in the team’s comeback win over Phoenix Super LPG due to an injured left knee.
Coach Tim Cone said Aguilar could be out for at least two weeks after being diagnosed with a medial collateral ligament sprain which he suffered in Ginebra’s loss to league-leading TNT last Sept. 12.
“The good news is he had no tears on the MCL, so it’s really a sprain and that can take up two to three weeks of repair to get back,” Cone said after the Gin Kings’ 94-87 triumph Wednesday, Sept. 15 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Aguilar’s absence is another added obstacle Ginebra is facing in its bid to retain the Philippine Cup crown.
Despite the win, Ginebra is in seventh spot at 4-5 and one slip-up in the last two games could be dangerous for the league’s most popular team.
The Gin Kings play the Alaska Aces on Friday, Sept. 17 and are also slated to possibly face the Meralco Bolts sometime next week.
“Three weeks is almost like the whole conference. So, I don’t know when he’ll be back at this point. It’s kinda day-to-day, but we’re hoping he can get back at some point. It really depends on how strong his knee feels.”
Ginebra had to dig deep in order to get the job done against Phoenix, with Christian Standhardinger carrying a huge load down low with Aguilar watching on the sidelines.
Standhardinger put up 21 points and 12 rebounds to help the Gin Kings rally after being down 19 in the first quarter.