For the first time since his stunning transfer, newest Ka-Barangay Jared Dillinger showed up in Ginebra’s game on Friday night in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
But it did not pan out the way he expected. Ginebra suffered a one-sided 81-104 loss to Rain or Shine, spoiling his first official day as a Gin King.
“I’m happy to be here. We lost today’s game. I’m just thinking about the loss,” said Dillinger, whom Ginebra acquired last week after Meralco relegated him to free agency.
The loss still could not dampen Dillinger’s overall delight, as he got a taste of being on the same side as the throng of Ginebra faithful.
“They’re the most popular team in the Philippines.
“It’s a nice feeling, knowing that the whole country is behind your back. It’s a great feeling,” beamed the veteran 6-foot-4 wingman. Previously, he’d been on the receiving end of Ginebra’s boos during his Meralco stint, especially at the height of their back-to-back Governors’ Cup Finals match-ups in 2016 and 2017.
Now that Dillinger has heard the iconic ‘Gi-neb-ra’ chant – even just as a spectator from the bench – the 35-year-old combo guard cannot wait to hear it when he’s actually on the court, after he recovers from his calf injury.
“My rehab’s going great.
“Rehab and therapy. It’s been going great. I’ve been following the program I got from my doctors and trainers in the States. It’s going well. It’s going really well so far,” he added.
Still, Dillinger will have to wait a while longer. Thankfully, though, the Ginebra’s coaching staff and management have been patient and willing to help him heal 100-percent.
“I spoke to coach Tim Cone and the management. They really wanna make sure I take my time with this so they’re very patient,” he said. “They just want me to be healed, there’s no timetable.
“When I’m already one-hundred percent, I will play right away.”