Dillinger says Black, Bolts ‘getting sick’ of losing after 3rd straight loss
ANTIPOLO — All of the losing and struggles in the Philippine Cup have taken its toll on Meralco.
Bolts veteran swingman Jared Dillinger said the players as well as head coach Norman Black are “getting sick” of the losing.
“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” Dillinger said after Meralco suffered a 99-81 rout to TNT on Sunday.
Black left the venue immediately after the loss and politely declined for an interview.
“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every Philippine Cup, we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it and our coach is getting sick of it.“
Meralco lost grip of the game early after TNT staged a 16-3 run. Though Niño Canaleta helped the Bolts get to within five in the early moments of the third quarter, the KaTropa eventually pulled away for good, leading as high as 22, 92-70, late in the game thanks to their stupendous shooting from beyond the arc.
Dillinger, however, knows that Meralco can’t get frustrated with its 1-3 slate as his team has no other choice but to go back to basics.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “We have to go back, look at the film, get yelled out by our coach, look at all the mistakes that we made, but more importantly, we can’t press the panic button. We can’t point fingers. We have to first blame ourself within, ‘What did I do wrong?’ We won’t panic, but I got to admit, it’s not fun right now.”
Asked what the Bolts are doing wrong that has led to a three-game skid, Dillinger said that it’s just the little things.
“Sometimes you don’t make the extra pass or make the extra effort on defense. It’s a lot of small things that you won’t see really. After a lot of that, it adds up and you see what happened to us tonight. TNT didn’t do anything much. It’s a given that they played well, but they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, they got open shots, our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”
Also not helping Meralco’s cause is the injuries to Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge, both of whom are integral pieces of Black’s rotation.
Dillinger, though, challenges his teammates to step up and show what they’re made of as the franchise eyes to finally end its misery every all-Filipino conference.
“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up. It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being a smart player. We just got to step up as a team,” he said.
Meralco faces Kia on Wednesday with the cellar-dwelling squads both seeking to crack the upper echelon of the standings.
“It’s a do-or-die. That’s gonna be a playoff game for us. Thank God, they beat Rain or Shine cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a team which lost 16 straight games. You don’t want to play teams like that. It’s gonna be tough for us,” he said.