Fastbreak: Japeth's game-winner, Petron wins again
The Best: Japeth Aguilar. Man. Yes, MAN. He is now a MAN among boys. The way he has been playing so far? Wow. He has just been on a completely different level. The former Western Kentucky Hilltopper struggled from the field, shooting just 7/15, but he made up for it with 11 rebounds and 4 big blocks. He scored a total of 15 markers, 7 of which came in the endgame when Ginebra went on a critical 10-3 run. No basket was more important than Aguilar's game-winning three with one-tenth of a second to go. Aguilar received a pass from LA Tenorio at the wings, dribbled once to his left, stepped back to get some separation from Reynel Hugnatan, and then let it fly. The shot was true, and then pandemonium!
The Worst: Meralco was the better team for most of this game as the Bolts seemed like they had the Kings all figured out. Like their previous encounter, which Meralco won, the Bolts utilized quickness and tenacious defense to stifle the Kings' height advantage. They held a 6-point lead with about 90 seconds to go, but key misses from the line and a pair of late threes from Jay-R Reyes and Aguilar sent Meralco to its seventh loss of the conference. Mike Cortez and John Wilson combined for 5 free throw misses in that span, which paved the way for Ginebra's improbable comeback from the grave.
Big Greg: Top overall pick Greg Slaughter recorded a nifty double-double performance here, which was in stark contrast to how he performed the first time Ginebra played Meralco this season. The former King Eagle scored 17 points on 7/13 FG shooting while also grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. He got the better of his match-up with another former Atenean, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, who missed all his field goals and finished with 0 points.
The Best: June Mar Fajardo, currently the player with the highest efficiency rating in the league, missed his second straight game of the season due to a knee injury, but his absence hardly mattered, even against the three-peat Philippine Cup champs. Without its star center, Petron leaned on wing duo Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz to defeat the Texters. Lassiter scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in a pivotal third quarter where the Boosters outscored TNT, 31-12. Lutz, for his part, continued his strong play this conference, dropping 16 points with 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The Worst: Even without having to contend with Fajardo, Talk N Text struggled big time in the paint. The Texters were outrebounded in this one, 58-47, allowing 5 Boosters to collect 6 rebounds or more. TNT's starting frontline didn't shoot well against Petron's depleted frontcourt. Ranidel De Ocampo, Kelly Williams, and Sean Anthony combined to shoot 7/24 from the floor, totaling 14 points in a combined 69 minutes.
Most Valuable Big Man: Last season's MVP was this game's most valuable big man, too. Arwind Santos tossed in 19 points, shooting 8/19 from the field on top of 9 boards and 2 rejections. He relished having the paint all to himself here, and he was at his vintage best. Hey, maybe not having June Mar isn't all too bad? - Rappler.com