MANILA, Philippines -- Aris Dionisio may not be putting up big numbers for the Magnolia Hotshots, but he proved to head coach Chito Victolero that he will always be ready when called to action.
Dionisio hit the biggest shot in the Hotshots' game against the NLEX Road Warriors on Wednesday, a clutch three-pointer with two seconds left in overtime that knotted the count at 104. He was also fouled by NLEX's JR Quinahan, but Dionisio misfired on the bonus free throw.
He was first to get the board, but Dionisio bricked what could have been a game-winning putback. Still, his big shot gave the Hotshots the momentum they needed in the second overtime, and they went on to win the game, 112-105.
"Si Aris kasi, laging ready naman 'yan," said Victolero of Dionisio, whom they selected with the ninth pick in the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft.
Dionisio is averaging less than ten minutes per game so far in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, and putting up two points and two rebounds per contest.
"It's my fault also na sometimes hindi ko siya mabigyan ng masyadong mahabang minuto," the coach admitted, noting that Dionisio is adjusting to playing as a small forward after the team's acquisition of Calvin Abueva in the offseason.
"Meron kaming adjustment na ganoon. So, unti-unti, at least nakukuha niya, and he spreads the floor," Victolero added. "Kung di dahil kay Aris siguro, wala na."
"At least, na-three points niya, and thanks to Aris."
Dionisio finished with 11 points, making four of his eight attempts from the field. He also had five rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time.
While it was Dionisio who drilled the biggest shot of the game, Victolero also commended his other players who showed no quit even after they fell behind by 16 points early in the fourth quarter.
"Even the other guys who stepped up, like 'yung mga minimal minutes," the coach said. "Talagang tulong-tulong lang kami dito. It's not about the minutes, it's about how we help each other."