JARED Dillinger and Calvin Abueva still have high respect for each other despite looking like mortal enemies while inside the playing court.
The two intense players went at it again on Wednesday night when they got entangled in a physical play early in the second half of Alaska’s 103-98 win over Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Dillinger was bumped hard by Abueva while going strong to the hoop at the 8:43 mark of the third quarter. The Meralco guard caught Abueva with a forearm, prompting the Alaska forward to retaliate by trying to pin Dillinger’s injured leg while the two were down on the floor.
A double technical foul was later called on the two in the incident, which came exactly four years after a much-publicized dust-up in a 2014 PBA game.
“Was that the one when I’m getting so mad? Is that what it was?” said a startled Dillinger when reminded about the history between him and Abueva.
“It’s so funny because I was so excited to guard Calvin today. And then I picked up so many fouls, so fast, he really did a good job,” said the 34-year-old veteran.
But Dillinger was quick to shrug off the latest incident, saying it was just two intense players going hard at each other.
And neither did it lessen the Meralco guard's admiration for Abueva as a player.
“We have our respect for each other. Even though we go hard and we hit each other, I have respect for him. He’s a good player,” said Dillinger of the undersized forward out of San Sebastian, with whom he had a big laugh shortly after being whistled for a ‘T.’
“He talked to me, he’s respecting me as well. That’s just the name of the game, we gonna go hard at each other.”
Dillinger said Abueva will always be Abueva.
“He tried his normal Calvin antics and tried to jump on my leg, so of course I’m gonna freak out and start pointing to all those fake stuff that we do,” he said. “But he did a good job, it kept my ass off the bench so hats off to him tonight.”
Dillinger finished with eight points and had one rebound and an assist in his first game back after being sidelined by a hamstring injury.
“It’s still weak,” he said when asked about it.
But he’s not making any excuses for the Bolts’ second loss in three outings, stressing the Aces did a good job against them.
“Yes it’s frustrating. But hats off to Alaska, that’s the way they play, they like to hit, and bump, and press,” said Dillinger. “Tonight they got into us, so good job to them.”