MANILA, Philippines - After missing the Governors’ Cup finals last year due to a hamstring injury, this year’s championship series was supposed to be Jared Dillinger’s coming out party. The Meralco Bolts star had waited for a year to get his vengeance on tormentors Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Instead, Dillinger has been a non-factor for the Bolts statistically as Meralco trails 0-2 in their best-of-7 finals bout following their 76-86 Game 2 loss on Sunday, October 15.
The 33-year-old forward, who was magnificent in their semifinals sweep of the Meralco Bolts with an average of 14.3 points on a 55.96 percent clip from downtown, was nowhere to found in the finals as he is norming just 5.5 points per game on an atrocious 14 percent from three-point distance.
But for Dillinger, it is not a shooting slump, rather, the result of Ginebra putting bigger guys on him.
“It’s hard to get some threes when they got long guys guarding me, so when they are closing out, a guy like Japeth (Aguilar), it’s hard to shoot over him sometimes. It’s tough, those guys are 20-30 pounds heavier than me,” said Dillinger.
The 6-foot-4 Filipino American has to overcome a huge size disadvantage when getting defended by Aguilar, who stands at 6-foot-9, Ginebra import Justin Brownlee and Joe Devance, who are both listed at 6-foot-7.
“In the fourth quarter, I’m fighting but my legs were gone and it’s hard to shoot when your legs are gone. They have big boys over there. It wears on you a little bit, especially when they keep posting you up like Joe and Brownlee.”
With Meralco trailing by just 3 points late in the game, 79-76, Dillinger had a chance to make it a one-point game but bricked both of his free throws as Ginebra pulled away for good.
Dillinger said that aside from Allen Durham, who single-handedly carried Meralco with 25 points, 22 rebounds and 7 assists, nobody has been shooting that well for the Bolts with Cliff Hodge, Baser Amer, Chris Newsome and Ranidel de Ocampo burying only 16 of their combined 45 attempts in Game 2.
“We’re so close to the end already I’m not so sure we’re gonna rest at all. We just got to suck it up and we got to make something work. If we don’t win this next game, it’s pretty much over.”
“Right now, we just need to get one. Right now, we got to stay together and continue to encourage each other. Guys aren’t really playing as well as they should. That’s how it is sometimes. We just got to stick with it and keep grinding it out,” Dillinger concluded. – 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.