THE moment Jared Dillinger said ‘he can’t stand Ginebra’ on Twitter last month, the Meralco stalwart knew he wasn’t going to hear the end of it from the fans of the most popular ballclub in the league.
Facing the team he called out last month for the first time since that infamous tweet, Dillinger definitely felt the fans’ anger as the crowd rode him on for the duration of their PBA Governors Cup game.
He got the last laugh though, as Meralco used a huge second half surge to come away with a 93-78 win Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6’4 swingman poured in all of his 17 points in the second half where the Bolts outscored the Kings, 50-33, and exact a bit of redemption from their six-game loss in the Finals of the same conference last year.
Held scoreless after the first half, Ginebra fans had a field day jeering Dillinger everytime he touched the ball as he missed one shot after the other. But when he finally got himself going in the third quarter, Dillinger just can’t seem to miss.
“It was fun playing against the crowd which boos you. We’re in the entertainment business and that was really entertaining. I had a rough first half in terms of shooting, I just needed to hit one to kind of get that confidence going,” said Dillinger who added five boards, three assists, a steal, and a block to his stat sheet in 32 minutes of play.
“After I hit that first one, everything else felt a lot easier. It was fun. Having some fun with some fans on Twitter. All jokes aside, it was just an elimination game. What matters is the playoffs,” he added.
The 33-year-old Dakota native knew the implications of that tweet. That’s why heading into the game, Dillinger knew he had to back that talk up, despite knowing for himself the tweet was just some old-fashioned banter between him and some of the Ginebra players including Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance.
“When you put yourself out there and you say some things, whether you’re joking or you’re serious, and you say stuff like that, you better back it up. Thank goodness we won. I would have heard it for a couple of weeks if we didn’t win that game,” he said.
“Just got to go out there and play hard and be confident in yourself and have fun with it. It’s a game it’s supposed to be fun. We had fun tonight.”
While he savored beating the team which denied Meralco winning its first ever championship in the PBA last year, Dillinger downplayed the ‘revenge’ undertone of the game and insisted it was nothing more than an elimination match.
For him, he would feel a lot more satisfied if they repeat this feat in the playoffs.
“I’m a vet. It’s not gonna be revenge unless we beat them in the playoffs and we send their assess home. Then I will feel like we got our revenge. Elimination game? Yeah, we won but it doesn’t matter until the playoffs start.”