IF faced with a choice between a Most Valuable Player trophy and a place in the national team one day, Meralco star Jared Dillinger said it is a decision that will be easy to make.
Having represented the country in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments four times under the Gilas Pilipinas banner since joining the PBA in 2008, Dillinger declared that he never gets tired of wearing the national tri-color.
“It’s something that as a player, it’s what we strive for - to wear the colors of the Philippine flag in our uniform,” said the versatile 6-5 Fil-American guard/forward.
“Absolutely, playing for the national team is the highest achievement you can get as a basketball player. That’s playing for the country. It’s the best by far, not even an MVP, nothing else comes close,” Dillinger added.
The former US Air Force Academy stalwart said his focus at the moment is on helping Meralco in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup, adding he won't feel bad if Gilas coach Chot Reyes won't include him in the next pool for the team bound for the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Still, the agile and efficient ball handler said he will be more than ready to answer the call from Gilas, months after losing his place in the team for the Fiba-Asia championships in Manila when he injured his pelvic bone in a car accident in April.
“I’ll be happy to play for the national team, I will never get tired of it. Honestly, right now, I have no idea if I will be called. But if I get another call, I will respond with pride,” the bearded forward said.
“Representing the country in international tournaments will always be a priority for me,” Dillinger added.
Set to return to the Fiba World Cup for the first time since hosting the 1978 edition, the Philippines is set to begin once-a-week practices shortly after the draw on February 3.
Dillinger appears a cinch for a place in the Gilas pool, which will be finalized after a meeting between national coach Reyes and the PBA board on January 30.