Jared Dillinger’s wish to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the 2017 Governor’s Cup Finals had been granted. But two games into the best-of-seven series, the 33-year-old might slightly regret what he wished for.
And it has something to do with defending the Gin Kings’ much taller and heftier frontcourt, which has an average height of six-foot-seven.
“It’s tough. Absolutely,” admitted the lengthy six-foot-four guard-forward, moments after he and the Meralco Bolts absorbed a 76-86 defeat in Game Two, Sunday night.
“It’s tough. Those guys are 20 to 30 pounds heavier than me.
“Fourth quarter, I’m fighting but the legs are gone and it’s hard to shoot when your legs are gone. But they’re big boys over there; it’s not like we don’t know that to begin with. Yeah, it wears down on you especially when they post up on you,” added the 6-foot-4 Filipino-American, “It’s tough. We got to adjust. We have to figure it out.”
However, locking horns with the tallest team in the league isn’t just the problem for the Bolts. In fact, they even went toe-to-toe with Ginebra in Game Two. But what made the difference is the way they shot the ball, going just 37 percent from the field.
“Something’s need to happen. I mean, aside from AD (Allen Durham), no one’s shooting that well – Del [De Ocampo], me, Baser [Amer], [Chris] Newsome, Cliff [Hodge]. Gotta make shots. That’s it,” said Dillinger, who only had five points on eight shots.
“We’re not making our shots and it’s tough on AD.”
Meralco are now in a 0-2 hole in the best-of-seven series, and for Dillinger, the pressure is starting to pile up. They’ll have the luxury of a two-day break prior to Game Three, but they’ll use all the time they have to prepare.
“We’re gonna get right back to practice. I mean, where so close to end already,” said the nine-year pro, who is averaging just 5.5 points on 16.7 percent shooting this series, “I’m not so sure if we will rest at all. We just got to suck it up, gut check.
“We got to make something work. If we don’t win this next game, it’s pretty much over.”