22 September 2016

Bolts 104, Enforcers 99

Jared Dillinger
Jared Dillinger was just unstoppable as the athletic veteran provided Allen Durham the needed support to allow Meralco to get away with a 104-99 victory over Mahindra last 21 September to nab the No. 4 ranking in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Dillinger scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth period, as the Bolts survived another tough stance from the Enforcer in the game held to decide which team takes the last twice-to-win advantage in the next round.

For displaying more toughness when it mattered, it would be the Bolts enjoying the reward when the two teams meet again on 24 September for their best-of-three duel at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Meralco coach Norman Black projects Mahindra to be a handful anew then.

"We expect another tough game from them,” said Black, who also got to move alongside his idol, the late Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan, at third in the all-time list with 601 wins.

"All our games against Mahindra this year have been tough so we expect nothing less on Saturday."

Durham led all scorers with 34 points, including 11 in the payoff period. But the contributions of Dillinger, Baser Amer and Chris Newsome proved indispensable.

Mahindra was led by James White’s 22 points and 13 boards with Aldrech Ramos adding 20. Paolo Taha chipped in 16 points and Mark Yee, LA Revilla and KG Canaleta 10 apiece.

The shoe could easily have been on the other foot as the Enforcer pounced on the Bolts’ listless start to the game by racing to a 16-point 57-41 third quarter spread.

But once Meralco heated up it soon gained the upper hand and even erected a 101-94 spread, off Dillinger’s fourth triple of the game, less than a minute left.

Yee's hook shot and Canaleta’s three charities off a foul by Newsome brought Mahindra within 99-101 and the Enforcer remained alive when Jimmy Alapag could only come up with a charity split, still 16 seconds left.

But, as in their 83-86 loss to the same team ending their eliminations campaign two Sundays ago, the Enforcer’s implosion was capped by Canaleta missing a forced triple try against Newsome.

Amer then sealed the game with a pair of freebies in the last 5.8 seconds, capping his 16-point, four-assist performance as chief reliever to Alapag for the night.

Newsome wound up with 12 points and a game high eight assists. But Durham, who added seven rebounds and three assists, and Dillinger earned the most praise from Black, however.

"Ï have to give lot of credit to AD (Durham), for being consistent, for being the solid block, the foundation of our team," said Black.

"But I also have to give a lot of credit to JD (Dillinger) for coming up with some huge shots down the stretch."

Dillinger’s heroics actually started in the third period, when his back-to-back treys capped a scorching 19-2 run by Meralco that razed its 16-point deficit and put it on top 68-62.

Led by Revilla, Canaleta and White Mahindra stirred back to life to reclaim the lead and even had an 84-78 cushion before falling apart anew in the next six minutes.
Three-point plays by Dillinger and Newsome sparked and capped a critical 15-3 charge by Meralco, putting it on top 93-87 and, as it turned out, for good.

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