By Jonas Terrado
Japeth Aguilar showed why he was a model of consistency for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel with his performance in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
The athletic big man averaged 15.5 points on 58-percent shooting with 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks before Friday’s Game 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena to emerge as a likely candidate for the Finals Most Valuable Player award.
Ginebra has three chances to close out Meralco for the title with Games 6 and 7, if necessary, set Sunday and Wednesday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Aguilar game-saving block on Allen Durham in the series opener last Jan. 7 and a seven-block effort in Game 3 will likely convinced members of the PBA Press Corps to select him as the series top player.
Getting the Finals MVP could end up as the biggest individual award Aguilar had since turning pro in 2009.
He shared the All-Star MVP with San Miguel Beer’s Arwind Santos last March in Calasiao, Pangasinan, was a two-time member of the Mythical First Team (2016-17, 2017-18), Mythical Second Team in 2015-16 and a two-time member of the All-Defensive Team (2015-16, 2016-17).
Another possible Finals MVP is Stanley Pringle, who posted 18.8 points on 46-percent with 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists through four games.
After being held to 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting in Game 1, Pringle averaged of 21.7 points on 53-percent clip in the next three matches.
Pringle scored 23 points in a losing effort in Game 2 before tallying back-to-back 21-point output which resulted in victories and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
LA Tenorio’s contribution in the previous four games were sporadic, yet he has managed to make an impact in the Finals.
Tenorio averaged 10.8 points on only 38-percent from the field but a strong showing in any of the potential title-clinching games may convince voters of handing him the Finals MVP award.
The Ginebra floor general has won the Finals MVP three times (2010 Fiesta Conference with Alaska and 2016 Governors’ Cup and 2017 Governors’ Cup with Ginebra), trailing only Danny Seigle and James Yap.
Seigle and Yap are tied for most Finals MVPs with four each.