Apr 02, 2023

Cone sees Aguilar returning for Ginebra in Governors' Cup finals

TIM Cone sees Japeth Aguilar suiting up for Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors Cup finals, if not in Game 1, possibly for the duration of the best-of-seven series against TNT.

The 6-foot-9 Aguilar has yet to get back in practice for the Kings, according to Cone, but the more than one-week break before the series opener kicks off on April 9 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, gives the veteran big man a good enough time to recover and prepare for his comeback game.

"Barring any setbacks, there's a chance he could be ready by Game 1," said Cone. "With the 10-day break, that might put him in a position that he might play in Game 1. But we expect him back at some point in the series."

Aguilar has not played since Feb. 10, including the entire playoffs, as he continues to recover from an MCL injury he suffered in a 114-111 win over NLEX.

But his return will certainly be a major boost in Ginebra's bid to retain its title against top seed TNT.

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After almost a two-month rest, Aguilar is getting closer to a comeback, said Cone, noting that while the big man has yet to practice with the Kings, he's already starting to do one-on-one, and two-on-two drills in practice.

"There's nothing written in stone," added the Ginebra coach. "But there's an opportunity he could be ready for Game 1. We'll see."

Ginebra completed a three-game sweep of San Miguel in the semis to make the finals of the season-ending conference for the fifth time in its last six editions. (RG)