JARED Dillinger played his best game in a long while, but the Meralco forward was quick to deflect the credit to embattled import Brian Butch after the Bolts’ amazing 109-88 come-from-behind win over Air21 on Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-foot-4 Dillinger pumped in 13 of his 20 points in the team’s 41-point fourth quarter explosion as he joined hands with the sweet-shooting Butch, who had 20 of his 40 points in the same stretch in leading Meralco to its third win in five games in the short, single-round eliminations.
Although Dillinger is happy to have slowly gotten back into game shape after battling a bacterial infection more than a week ago, the Fil-Am guard credited Butch’s “infectious attitude” on the floor and inside the locker room for the Bolts' unlikely victory.
“It kind of just starts with the import, the way he (Butch) carries himself. He’s a winner, he’s a good locker room guy. He talks to everyone and he wants to win,” said Dillinger, in describing the intangible qualities Butch bring to the Bolts.
The blue-collar import also added 31 rebounds.
Dillinger, the left-handed former University of Hawaii standout, said Butch’s passion for the game speaks volume of the import’s desire to keep his job with the Bolts.
“He wants to be here (playing with Meralco), and it just rubs off on everyone,” said the 30-year-old Dillinger.
“No one tipped their head down. We always kept the positivity and the energy he brings, he always brings everyone up. My hats off to Brian. He always plays well.”
Butch’s fate, though, hinges on the Meralco coaching staff’s meeting early this week as it decides whether to send the former NBA D-League Impact Player of the Year home in favor of standby import Darnell Jackson or not.
Meralco swings back to action on Wednesday against Rain or Shine.