JARED Dillinger is hardly worried Meralco’s incoming 17-day break will douse the team’s momentum in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, even welcoming the long layoff as a chance for injured players to heal.
The Bolts frustrated Blackwater, 102-91, on Easter Sunday to register their second straight win and sixth overall in seven games to virtually clinch a quarterfinal berth.
But they won’t be playing again until May 10 when they take on GlobalPort.
“I need it,” Dillinger insisted. “I’m happy for that break. We’re a little bit banged up, so we’re happy to get these next two weeks off. We’re going to stay practicing, but for the guys who are kind of hurt, Cliff (Hodge), I got a little aches and pains, it’s going to be a much-needed break for us.”
Dillinger is nursing a minor Achilles injury, but still managed to put up a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including three triples, three boards, three steals, and two assists in 35 minutes against the Elite.
Dillinger believes the long break won’t leave the Bolts rusty.
“No, not so much,” he said. “The coaching staff, they’re really good at keeping us on our toes. He’s not going to give us six days off. We’re going to have a day off, practice, practice, a couple days off, so it’s going to be pretty much like preseason. We’re okay.”
Bolts coach Norman Black, though, is a bit worried.
“When you're playing well and you're winning, the last thing you want is a seventeen-day break because you have no idea how you're gonna come out that break,” Black said.
“But we'll welcome it,” he added. “It's a good feeling going into the break knowing that we have probably qualified for the quarterfinals already.”