Finally back on the hard court after the hamstring injury that cut his previous conference short, Jared Dillinger exudes in confidence as wins continue to fall on Meralco’s way.
“I’m just happy that we won and I’m happy that I’m healthy,” he said.
The string of victories continued on Friday, with the Bolts turning back sister team TNT, 94-89 to keep their record unscathed after three games.
And for Dillinger, a lot of that should be credited on the imposing presence provided by reinforcement Alex Stepheson.
“When we got a presence like Alex, it gives you confidence that you could be aggressive playing against their wings knowing that he’s got our back down low. We feel that he’ll be there getting every rebound. When you got a guy like that behind you, you feel you can do anything. We’re really blessed to have him in our squad,” he said.
With Stepheson providing the stability in the paint, the locals have been able to contribute at a high level to help Meralco nab those wins.
To wit, the hulking import may have led the Bolts with his 20-point, 27-rebound performance in the triumph over the KaTropa, but the victory wouldn’t have been possible if not for the locals.
Dillinger went on a 3-of-8 clip from beyond the arc, Baser Amer added 17 markers, two boards, and two assists, Chris Newsome had 10 markers, seven assists, and three rebounds, and the bench crew also chimed in 27.
“That’s the only way you’ll beat a team like TNT,” said Dillinger. “We’re not going to have one guy shoot 25 shots and hopes that he makes it all. For a team like TNT, you need a balanced attack because they’re too good, too smart. Tonight, the locals stepped up, hit shots when we need to. Tonight was our night.”
Though elated with the way things are going early in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Dillinger noted that the 3-0 start will be for naught if the Bolts couldn’t sustain their run in the next games.
“It’s a great start, but just like anything else, there’s a long season to go,” he said.
“It’s nice that we’re 3-0, and try to stay ahead of the good teams because we still have a tough schedule ahead, but we still got long ways to go. We still haven’t proven anything. We got to take it a game at a time, be humble, celebrate tonight and be happy, but after that, then it’s back to work again.”