Tim Cone was in shock Sunday night, minutes after a bizarre finish had his undermanned Barangay Ginebra crew snapping a three-game losing streak in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The multititled coach drew a hero out of one of the most obscure men on his bench, as the Gin Kings brought down erstwhile unbeaten sister team San Miguel Beer, 100-96, that put them back in the middle of the pack at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
“This was a mismatch, in the first quarter, we had no chance,” Cone said after the Beermen looked like they were simply going through the motions. “Our guys just dug in and made a run at halftime and we kept momentum.
“We started believing and that was the key. We kept forgetting how good we could be.”
Raymond Aguilar was the surprise performer for the Kings, who leveled their record to 3-3 and dealt the Beermen their first loss in six games, dropping San Miguel into a tie for the lead with another sister team, Magnolia.
“Who would have thought it?” Cone asked of the win, before heaping praise on “the other Aguilar. “He was just phenomenal. He guarded June Mar (Fajardo) all game, he hit big shots, made big plays on his own. He was amazing.”
Raymond Aguilar tied his career-high with 16 points, and though he actually didn’t limit Fajardo, who finished with 33, he had some big buckets that kept the Beermen at bay.
Cone is now looking forward to the Kings’ next game on Saturday against NLEX at Cuneta Astrodome where 7-foot cornerstone Greg Slaughter could make his return.
Confusion marred the final 4.6 seconds when Chris Ross took the first of two free throws originally intended for Chico Lanete. He was slapped a technical foul as Tenorio made it a safe four-point lead for Ginebra.
GlobalPort, still without star Terrence Romeo, scored an impressive 107-88 plastering of Meralco in the first game.
Meanwhile, former Purefoods point guard Ulysses Tanigue passed away on Sunday due to a lingering illness. He was 43.