New acquisition Jared Dillinger attended Brgy. Ginebra’s practice session for the first time, Monday morning at the Upper Deck Gym in Pasig City.
The 35-year old Fil-Am just watched from the sidelines since he is still recovering from a recurring quad injury.
Before wrapping things up, Dillinger was given a chance by the coaching staff to introduce himself properly to the team. It’s something that not even the self-confessed ‘Ginebra hater’ has imagined happening.
“It’s funny how life works, right? How I kinda flipped the script, now I’m with Ginebra. In situations like this I just gotta smile, take it all in, and enjoy the ride,” said the player who once said that he can’t stand Brgy. Ginebra.
While still in shock, the five-time PBA champion is nevertheless thrilled at the thought of playing for the crowd darlings.
“I’m excited, starting this new chapter. I know most of the guys in the team. I still went out to get used to the coaches’ philosophies and getting acquainted to the system. But it’s still a little bit shocking so you know, I came to practice here this morning,” he said.
“Guys welcomed me with open arms. I got to talk to coach Tim (Cone) and the coaching staff a little bit. They’re gonna let me take my time, make sure I get healthy more importantly. I’m taking it one day at a time.”
The team’s multitude of fans, however, may have to wait a little longer to see him in action as the 6-foot-4 swingman wants to be in tiptop shape before he takes the plunge.
“I feel really good but I’m not 20 years old anymore. So I have to make sure to take my time, go to the right steps before you know, getting back on the court.”
In parting, the newest Gin King is hoping to get a warm reception from the Brgy. Ginebra faithful once he makes his much-awaited debut.
“I hope the Ginebra fans out there will learn to love me slowly by just seeing how I play with my heart on my sleeve. The energy and emotion that I like to bring when I play the game. Just take it from there.”