MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts may feature a stronger team when they play the Alaska Aces in their first game of 2018 on January 10.
This, as coach Norman Black expects both Jared Dillinger and Cliff Hodge to be available for that game.
Dillinger sat out Meralco's 103-97 loss to San Miguel last December 27 due to a nagging hamstring injury, while Hodge has yet to see action in the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup.
"I would imagine he (Dillinger) should be back by (the) Alaska (game)," Black said following their loss to the Beermen.
"We play Alaska on January 10. I think he and Cliff Hodge should be back by then," he added.
According to Black, Dillinger complained about tightness on his hamstring two days before they played San Miguel. Fortunately, doctors found no tear or pull in the muscle. Still, they opted not to risk aggravating the injury, especially as Dillinger's hamstring has been an issue for him in the past conferences.
"We felt that it's probably smart to let him sit out until he can loosen up his hamstrings, because we don't want him pulling it again and sitting out for a long period of time," said Black.
"We'll just wait until he feels more comfortable," he added.
Hodge and Dillinger are not the only Meralco players to suffer from injury. Ranidel de Ocampo has yet to play a game in the conference as well.
Nevertheless, Black has gotten solid contributions from their off-season acquisitions, notably KG Canaleta and Ken Bono. The Bolts split their first two games of the Philippine Cup before the holiday break.
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