AFTER hurting Meralco with that crucial flagrant foul called on him the last time, Jared Dillinger came back with a vengeance as he shot the lights out of the Smart Araneta Coliseum to help the Bolts avoid the upset ax against Blackwater Thursday night in their do-or-die encounter in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals.
Dillinger poured all of his 15 points in the second half from three-point range to spark the team’s comeback 104-96 win over the eight-seeded Elite and clinch a berth in the semifinals of the season-ending meet.
The Fil-Am guard was scoreless in the first half, but came alive in the final two quarters when the season of the top seeded Bolts was obviously on the line.
Things wouldn’t have come down to this had the twice-to-beat Bolts won their first meeting Tuesday in a game where Dillinger was whistled for a flagrant foul in the final minute and the outcome of the game in the balance.
The Elite won that one to force the sudden-death match, 92-91.
“Last game I made a mental lapse and I’ve been kicking myself in the butt ever since,” he admitted.
Anxious Dillinger was eager to make up for the faux pas that he couldn’t wait for the winner-take-all match to be played, so much so he failed to break into the scoreboard in the first two quarters.
“I started off probably a little slow, but I have to keep my focus with the season (on the line),” said the 33-year-old veteran guard.
But once he made his first shot in the third quarter, there was no stopping him from connecting from downtown.
“When I hit my first shot, everything got easier (for me),” admitted the 6-foot-4 Dillinger.
Despite his heroics, Dillinger credited the entire Meralco squad for pulling off the thrilling win.
“It’s a good team win,” he stressed.