INJURED guard Jared Dillinger is looking on the positive side of Meralco’s three-game sweep at the hands of Rain or Shine in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals encounter.
Despite failing to win a game in the best-of-five series, Dillinger believes the Bolts’ semis appearance is a step towards the right direction as the franchise tries to keep improving every conference.
“Looking ahead, it’s (semifinal appearance) a great stepping stone for the team because we haven’t been in a semis ever since we came,” said Dillinger who sat out the entire semis after suffering a severe sprained left leg during the Bolts’ quarterfinals series against NLEX.
For the record, Meralco actually reached the semifinals for only the second time in franchise history since the team joined the league at the start of the 2011 season.
“It’s a great step, but that’s not gonna get easier from here,” said the 31-year-old Fil-Am guard.
“We won a good amount of games and we snuck up on a lot of teams,” he added.
“When you do well, the teams will look at you the next conference and not take you lightly as before.”
Meralco opened the mid-season conference with five straight victories for the franchise’s best start ever.
But import Josh Davis suffered a bad fall in a game against San Miguel Beer in Cagayan de Oro, which proved ominous enough as the Bolts lost five of their last six games in the eliminations.
They eventually entered the playoffs as the fifth seeded team.
But after eliminating NLEX in the first round of the playoffs, Meralco just couldn’t keep a step with the second-seeded Elasto Painters, especially after injuries hounded Dillinger and later on, Davis, who was ruled out in Wednesday night’s Game Three after hyper-extending his left shoulder in Sunday night’s loss (92-82).
“I feel real helpless that I couldn’t help the team out on the court,” said Dillinger, who was reduced to a cheer leader with Davis on the bench in Meralco’s 107-98 loss.
“We have to go back to the drawing boards and get better. We’re gonna work even harder than we ever did before. That’s how it works,” he said.
“We need to have a higher aspiration to get better.”
Meralco hopes to come out with an even better showing in the season-ending Governors Cup with the possible stint of Iranian superstar playmaker Mehdi Kamrani as the team’s Asian import.
For the time being, the Bolts are still waiting word from Kamrani, who is still seeking additional medical opinion regarding his wife’s pregnancy.