MANILA, Philippines – Jared Dillinger still needs a few more days to process winning a PBA championship with Barangay Ginebra against Meralco – the very same team he used to go wars with for years.
Dillinger ended a personal six-year title drought as the Gin Kings trounced the Bolts for the third time in the last 4 seasons to rule the Governors' Cup.
The championship triumph was sort of a bittersweet feeling for the 36-year-old, who was on the losing end of those past two finals duels in 2016 and 2017 back when he was still a part of Meralco.
"I had a lot of history there with the MVP Group and Meralco going against Ginebra. There's a lot of memories and it's surreal," he said after Ginebra wrapped up the series in 5 games on Friday, January 17.
"Maybe after I celebrate with the team, sit down in my house, and have a couple of drinks just to relax, I'll be able to think about this and kind of reflect what's going on," Dillinger added.
"Right now, it's hard to put into words what just happened."
Dillinger had his most success with TNT where he won 5 championships, the last coming in the Philippine Cup in 2013.
But titles became elusive when he was traded to the Bolts the following season as they fell short of the Governors' Cup championship twice.
His fortunes, though, changed when the Gin Kings acquired him in the middle of the season, with head coach Tim Cone admitting he had been trying to get the do-it-all combo guard for years.
"Obviously, it's a good feeling. This is my sixth championship. I haven't had a chance to win a championship since my TNT days," Dillinger said.
"I'm enjoying this moment and embrace it, have as much fun as I can with it."
Rekindling the euphoria of winning a title, Dillinger has his eyes set on the All-Filipino conference, which Ginebra has yet to win under Cone.
"We all talked and we want to keep the train going," Dillinger said. We got something special here and we'll keep these guys together. We'll celebrate, but we'll be back to work in a couple of weeks." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.