Meralco forward Jared Dillinger has hit some big baskets in his PBA career.
On Monday’s Game 4 of their Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal series against Alaska, ‘The Daredevil’ hit one of his more memorable ones – banking in an improbable buzzer-beating heave from the backcourt at the end of the third quarter.
“It’s funny because when I let it go, I felt like it had a good chance going in. It was like a one in a million shot. I’ll take it at this point,” Dillinger told sportswriters.
He had just hit a three-pointer – the regular variety, as compared to his later stunning shot – a minute prior. Teammate Anjo Caram drilled a jumper in transition before the Bolts got a late defensive stop and import Arinze Onuaku handed the ball over to Dillinger with the quarter clock running out.
Dillinger, from Alaska’s three-point line on the opposite end of the floor, lined up a long heave that somehow found its mark, making it an 8-0 run to close the period.
That big shot lifted the spirits of the Bolts as they opened the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run to turn what was a two-point lead into a sizable 21-point advantage. The Bolts clinched the game, 86-70, to equalize and force a do-or-die Game 5 for a spot in the Finals.
“It definitely carried the momentum going to the fourth quarter. We hit a couple of shots after that and that kinda pumped us up a little bit for us. Now, series is tied, 2-2. It’s anybody’s game now,” Dillinger said.
The Meralco forward finished with 17 points, including four three-pointers in this one. He played a sniper role for the Bolts in Game 4, much like he did in Game 2, where he hit five triples to help his team tie the series at 1-all.
He has been impeccable with his outside shooting in the semifinals, going 13-for-30 (44-percent) from distance.
But for the knockout game on Wednesday, Dillinger believes it’ll come down to effort more than anything else.
“We’ll take the Xs and Os. Game 5 is all about hustle,” said Dillinger, one of the few players on the Meralco side who has championship experience.