Meralco still wary of ‘very energetic’ Mahindra
In just a span of 10 days, Meralco beat Mahindra twice to claim the No. 4 spot and last twice-to-beat advantage.
And though it may seem as if the Bolts have gained some sort of mastery over the Enforcer, veteran swingman Jared Dillinger still feels that doesn’t give Meralco any room for complacency when the two teams meet anew in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“They were both close games, so it wasn’t like we were completely dominating them,” said Dillinger when asked if Meralco has Mahindra’s number this conference after its 104-99 win Wednesday.
“It was really a tough game all the way to the end. So for us, we hit the big shots, we get a couple of breaks, we end up on top, but it’s still gonna be tough and we’re not taking them for granted at all,” added Dillinger, who scored all of his 22 points in the second half.
In both team’s other encounter this conference 10 days ago, Meralco could barely get by Mahindra for an 86-83 win.
And if their previous games are an indication of their duel in the playoffs, Dillinger sees another tough game ahead.
“They have a lot of mismatches for us. Of course their import White is really tough to guard. It’s gonna be a battle come Saturday. it’s not gonna be easy.”
On Wednesday, the Bolts had to come back from 16 points down in the third quarter to win.
Dillinger was proud of how Meralco fought back but knows the tam cannot afford to fall behind big again against a Mahindra team very much capable of pulling upsets considering it has beaten several of the league’s powerhouses this conference alone.
“They’re a very energetic team so we just wanted to come out there and match their energy and we were able to get some stops and run and hit a couple of shots and it just kind of snowballed from there. We were able to finally put a good squad out there that was able to make some stops,” he said.
“It was good but you cant fall down 16 points and expect to win every game. Statistically, that’s not gonna happen to often so we definitely have to do our homework come Saturday.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.