Jared Dillinger came up huge off the bench to power the Meralco Bolts into a late game surge to complete a come-from-behind victory over the Alaska Aces that evened up their best-of-5 semi-final series at 1-apiece Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Dillinger poured 20 big points on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc for the Bolts, who trailed by as much as 14, 63-77 in the final canto.
Onuaku delivered a hulking 20-point, 16-rebound, and 6-assists performance while Chris Newsome and Reynel Hugnatan added 19 and 15, respectively.
It was the Bolts’ first semifinal victory since their lone win against the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in the PBA 2013 Governor’s Cup according to PBA Chief Statistician Fidel Mangonon.
Rob Dozier spearheaded Aces’ offense with 28 markers and 10 boards, who were up for the most part of the game but failed to finish off the Bolts as they collapsed at endgame.
Calvin Abueva sizzled once more with 18 points and 5 rebounds but he was the only other bright spot for the Coach Alex Compton-led ball club.
Game 3 will be on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. – John Bryan Ulanday