MANILA, Philippines – Of the 4 triples Jared Dillinger drained in Game 4 of the 2016 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals, one stands out as most memorable.
Dillinger banked in a heave from Alaska's 3-point line on the other side of the court to beat the third quarter buzzer on Monday, May 2 that helped boost Meralco's momentum – and his confidence – entering the fourth, to the delight of fans present at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"It's funny because right when I let it go it felt like I had a good chance. That's why I kind of stood there the way I did because I felt like it had a good chance of going in," 32-year-old said of the shot.
"Luckily that went in. That was like a one and a million shot. I'll take it. I'll take it at this point."
Photo by Eduardo Solo/Rappler
That 3-pointer was huge not only because it was a difficult (and lucky) shot but also because it stretched Meralco's cushion to 10 points after 3 quarters.
The shot carried the Bolts' momentum forward in a blistering 23-4 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to blow up a 54-52 lead late in the third to 77-56 with 6:16 left to play.
"It definitely carried some momentum going into the fourth quarter. We started the fourth, hit a couple of shots, and that kind of ballooned the score up a little bit," he said.
Dillinger, whose triple sparked that huge surge and doused water on Alaska's own third quarter rally, led Meralco scorers with 17 points, 5 rebounds as they marched on to an 86-70 victory to force a deciding Game 5 on Wednesday.
The Bolts are one game away from their first-ever finals appearance.
"It's anybody's game now. (For Game 5) just take out the Xs and Os," said Dillinger. "It's about who has more heart and guts to execute our game plan." – Rappler.com