MERALCO coach Ryan Gregorio expects guard Jared Dillinger to join the team in the middle of September as the Fil-American lefty recovers fully from injuries sustained in a vehicular accident last summer.
Dillinger, acquired by the Bolts during the break in between conferences in a three-team deal that also involved Talk 'N Text and Barako Bull, went under the knife for a fractured pelvic bone and has since been undergoing rehabilitation.
“We’re patiently waiting for Jared,” Gregorio told Spin.ph as the team prepares for its first game in the Governors' Cup on Friday. “As per our last conversation, he (Dillinger) will be ready to play mid-September.”
Meralco, which opens the conference against Petron, will also be without Macmac Cardona who is expected to be out for at least three weeks dut to a right calf strain, according to Gregorio.
Despite the injuries and a revamped roster, Gregorio remains hopeful that the Bolts will be competitive, especially with Mario West returning to the team for another tour of duty this season.
The 6-5 West will arrive on Thursday as a quick replacement for Bolts original choice DJ Kennedy, who failed to make the height limit after being measured twice by league officials.
“It (last-minute import change) will work just fine. Mario West is not a stranger to us since he has played with us before,” said Gregorio.
“He is in good shape and is raring to play again in the PBA. At this point, we cannot look back.”
Dillinger, who averaged 6.1 points, 3.06 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 25 minutes this season with Talk 'N Text, was supposed to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the recent Fiba-Asia men's championships.
But the accident prevented the Fil-Am from suiting up once more for Gilas Pilipinas, where he played a major role in the national team's victorious campaign in last year's Williams Jones Cup in Taipei.
Under the three-team deal, Talk 'N Text acquired Sean Anthony from Barako Bull in exchange for Dillinger, who in turn was packaged with veteran big man Don Allado and shipped to Meralco for Ronjay Buenafe and seldom-used Gilbert Bulawan.