Japeth Aguilar's stellar showing against the Meralco Bolts earned him his first ever Honda-PBA Finals MVP award after Barangay Ginebra wrapped up the PBA Governors' Cup finals series in Game 5 Friday.
Aguilar was a force down low all series long for the Gin Kings, who leaned on the big man to anchor them past a tough challenge from the Bolts and into the franchise's 22nd overall title.
Across five games, the 32-year-old center posted glowing averages of 17.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.4 blocks on 56 percent shooting from the field.
"It was absolutely well-deserved," coach Tim Cone said. "I mean, I think he made a statement in Game 1 and he made another statement in Game 2 and went through Games 3, 4 and 5. ... Just a total game outside taking shots, inside, you know, getting drop passes and dunks, you know, running the floor."
Without Raymond Almazan, who tore his left meniscus early in Game 3, Meralco simply could not match up against Aguilar. The undersized Bolts struggled in Game 5 as Aguilar scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter while hauling down eight rebound and swatting away four shots.
"Coming into this series, I just took in this challenge," Aguilar said. "We all knew Allen Durham's strengths, so for me I just focused on my role. I'm just thankful for the basketball gods because it went our way -- I'm talking about Raymond's absence. Raymond's a huge part of what they do in Meralco, so we just took on that opportunity."
This is also Aguilar's fifth career title and fourth overall with the Ginebra franchise, but Cone said the best has yet to come for the big man.