28 April 2016

Bolts 92, Aces 87

Jared Dillinger
Jared Dillinger came through with a personal-conference high of 20 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter as Meralco rallied to get back at Alaska Milk, 92-87, in Game 2 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last 27 April.

Finding the opening on Alaska's constant helping defense on Arinze Onuaku, Dillinger made the baskets that he had to make, enabling the Bolts to avenge a 94-97 loss in the series opener Monday.

Onuaku, Jimmy Alapag and Chris Newsome put in their shares in their key fourth-quarter turnaround, negating Alaska's domination of the first three quarters anchored on a lockdown defense.

Even-steven with a game apiece, the two teams fight for the pivotal 2-1 lead on 29 April in the same venue.

"I thought we had a great effort in the second half. We struggled badly in the first half," said Meralco coach Norman Black.

"I have to give it to JD (Dillinger) for hitting the outside shots and to Chris Newsome for scoring on layups to break their defensive lane. Arinze hung in there. He’s much more effective today. It’s a great all-around effort by our team," Black also said.

True enough, Onuaku did much more than in Game One, collecting 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists against three turnovers.

Newsome contributed 19 markers and eight boards while Reynel Hugnatan chipped in 15 points and three rebounds.

Rob Dozier led the losing team with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

On their tremendous defensive pressure, the Aces held the Bolts down to 14 points in the first quarter and to only 13 in the second.

Offensively, the Aces went 17-of-36 from the field to lead by 12 at 44-32 before sitting on a 44-37 cushion at the half.

It could have been closer if not for Onuaku’s poor 5-of-11 free throws.

Nonetheless, the Bolts stuck right behind the Aces before pouring everything to steal the game at the finish.

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