JARED Dillinger saw action for the first time this conference in Meralco’s win over Phoenix in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night.
It wasn't by design.
Meralco coach Norman Black said there was no plan to field Dillinger even though he was recently reactivated in time for the Bolts’ playoff run. But the Bolts coach was left with no choice after Cliff Hodge went down with an injury.
Dillinger didn’t play in the eliminations after suffering a partial tear in his quad. He also had an operation to remove bone spurs in his right foot. But the 34-year old scored two points in seven minutes and did his part in defending Phoenix star Calvin Abueva.
“Jared wasn’t going to play tonight,” Black said. “I had no plans of playing him. Cliff went down with an injury which I’m not sure what it is. I had no choice. I was running out of players to guard Calvin Abueva.”
“Calvin Abueva is a real problem as far as how you defend him. And there are only certain types of players who can defend him because he is so physical. If you don’t match his physicality for physicality, you have no chance against Calvin Abueva.
“That’s the reason I used JD tonight. He’s a pretty physical player defensively,” said Black.
Dillinger admitted he has has yet to really get his legs back after a long layoff.
“I’m not sure how much of a comeback it was but I was pretty gigil trying to play and doing what I can to help. As soon as I saw Cliff hit the deck, I knew coach is going to throw me in the fire,” said the Fil-Am guard.
After seeing him play, Black plans to play Dillinger once again in the knockout game against Phoenix on Friday.
“My legs aren’t there yet. My heart is there. My spirit is there. My fighting spirit is there. You have guys like Cliff breaking his back out there so we should all break my legs if you are going to break his back, do whatever we can do to get the win,” said Dillinger.