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From above the rim to beyond the 3-point arc

Ask several PBA fans how well they know the game of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Japeth Aguilar and the answer would be: Slam dunk.

With his long wingspan and leaping ability, Aguilar makes his living mostly above the rim if he’s not taking towering perimeter jumpers.

But a three-point shooter?

Add that to his resume, as well.

The 6-foot-10 Aguilar brought out another weapon in his arsenal on Christmas Day by shooting 5-of-5 from three-point territory on his way to a career-best 32 points as Ginebra defeated Star, 86-79, in the Manila Clasico last Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

“Japeth was awesome tonight on the offensive side and even defensively, he was very active,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone as Aguilar grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots.

“We encourage him to shoot threes… he hit them. It’s a huge weapon that we can continue to use and develop,” added Cone as Aguilar – before the game – was 0-for-1 this conference from the area but has been shooting from beyond the arc during practice sessions.

The victory of Ginebra improved its record to 3-3 Sand created a four-way tie for sixth to ninth places with Star, Phoenix and Alaska, behind defending champion San Miguel Beer (4-1), TNT Ka Tropa (4-2), Rain or Shine (4-2), GlobalPort (3-2) and Blackwater (4-3).

Aguilar said that while his focus is on defense, he is thrilled that he was able to help the team likewise on offense.

“I was surprised,” said the seven-year veteran, who has a career .024 percentage on three-point made (23-of-95). “Pati sa offensive performance ko. Kasi my focus talaga, to be honest, was on defense because coach Tim wanted na sa’kin manggaling.”

“This is one of those moments in my basketball career na never did I expect… 5-of-5 from the three-point line,” added a beaming Aguilar, who put on a Santa Clause printed shirt after the game.