Dillinger rues shooting, fightback came a little too late as Meralco falls short in finals rematch
Jared Dillinger was one of the few bright spots for Meralco early in a flat start for the Bolts in Game 7. Jerome Ascano

BOCAUE, Bulacan – Jared Dillinger admitted Meralco just dug a hole too deep to overcome Barangay Ginebra in Game 7 of the PBA Governors Cup finals Friday night.

The Bolts had a slow start off the gates and found themselves trailing by as many as 52-32 late in the second period.

While they did battle back and threatened down the stretch, the Bolts just exerted too much effort coming back that their rally fell short in the end as the Kings scored a 101-96 win at the Philippine Arena here.

“I think we pretty much lost the game by the first half,” said Dillinger. “We’re just playing catch-up the whole time."

“When you go down big against Ginebra especially in the first half like that, it’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be a grind coming back.”

Too bad the Bolts lost this one just when Dillinger finally got his game in the title series. He finished with 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range, while adding three rebounds and five assists in what was his best performance in the finals.

Dillinger regrets not playing this way early in the series, which Meralco once trailed, 0-2.

“I wish my shots came a little bit sooner in the series,” he said. “But that’s the name of the game. Sometimes when your shot's off, it’s off.  You just have to stay positive, find ways to work for, try to help the team in some other ways. It happens."

“My shots were finally falling tonight. But it doesn’t matter. We lost.”

Dillinger, who, just before the series, pronounced his dislike for Ginebra publicly, has no excuse. He said the Kings deserve to be champions again.

“You got to give credit where credit is due,” said JD. “Those guys are warriors. LA (Tenorio) was a warrior tonight. (Justin) Brownlee didn’t miss too much shots. They deserve to win.”

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Dillinger said he’ll take a well-deserved break, probably in a beach, following Meralco’s second straight runner-up finish in the season-ending meet.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos