Now that Jared Dillinger has left Meralco for a new start with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Bolts head coach Norman Black is now looking at his younger Orangemen to take the place of the veteran guard nicknamed the Daredevil.
Black is looking at rookie Bong Quinto, whom Meralco nabbed with the 14th pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.
“I think Bong Quinto’s gonna be a really good player,” Black said. “I know he’s a rookie, so he makes rookie mistakes.
“But what we see in the practice is a guy with multiple talents; a guy who can pass the ball, shoot the ball, score the ball, play defense.
“It’s just a matter of time,” added the decorated bench strategist, who’s been with Meralco since 2014. “It’s almost similar to what’s happening with [Javee] Mocon even though Mocon’s getting more playing time at Rain or Shine.”
The Letran product, though, admitted that there’s pressure in his part knowing that he’ll soon take over the role of the 35-year-old Dillinger, the second overall pick of the stacked 2008 Draft and a five-time PBA champion.
“Sobrang pressured kasi unang-una, idol ko yun bata pa lang ako.
“Sobrang idol ko talaga siya, sa TNT pa siya,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean he’s folding. For Quinto – who’s been logging in an average of nearly 10 minutes this 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, where Meralco’s 2-2 – this kind of opportunity is something that he will never take for granted.
“Sa’kin naman, kung ano yung hinahain, iga-grab ko talaga,” he said.
“Ayokong sayangin yung ganyang chances na binibigay ni coach Norman. Ako, every game naman, kahit sa practice I give my best para mapatunayan ko na pwede ako dun sa spot na kung anuman yung pwede ibigay sa’kin.”