PBA: Ginebra to welcome back Mariano, lose Dillinger

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2021 02:30 PM

Jared Dillinger (2) is expected to miss the Governors' Cup due to a knee injury. File photo. PBA Media Bureau.
Jared Dillinger (2) is expected to miss the Governors' Cup due to a knee injury. File photo. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- Fitness remains an issue for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, as veteran forward Jared Dillinger is expected to miss the rest of the PBA Governors' Cup due to a torn patellar tendon.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone on Sunday revealed that Dillinger suffered the injury during a recent practice.

"JD (Dillinger) will most likely have surgery, and he may be out for the conference," said Cone. "We're thinking he's out for the conference."

"It's a big blow for us. Happened just a few days ago, he was trying to dunk the ball, and he landed badly and tore his patellar tendon. So it looks like he might have to go into surgery," he added. 

Dillinger played 13 games for Ginebra in the 2021 Philippine Cup, making three starts. He averaged 2.3 point and 1.9 rebounds per game in their campaign.

Another veteran forward, Joe Devance, is also recovering from knee surgery that he had gotten after the All-Filipino conference. "He still looks a long ways away," Cone said of Devance.

They received good news about Aljon Mariano, however. Mariano missed the entire Philippine Cup after having surgery to remove bone spurs in his foot.

"The guy that we may get back soonest is maybe Aljon. Aljon just got a check-up a couple of days ago from the doctor, and he might be able to start doing some drills with the team," said Cone of Mariano.

Mariano had been a key contributor in Ginebra's run to the 2020 All-Filipino title, averaging 8.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.

Cone is also hopeful that they can soon get back former MVP Mark Caguioa, who is back in the Gin Kings' active lineup after missing the Philippine Cup. Caguioa sustained a calf strain in practice but is tipped to return this week, according to the coach.

"I was joking that I got a Hall of Fame bench with JD, Joe and Mark sitting on there at the end of the bench," said Cone. "They're all tough to lose, but they're all great leaders, and they help, even though they're not playing, because they're all great leaders and they talk to their guys."

The Gin Kings opened their Governors' Cup campaign with a come-from-behind 80-77 win against the Alaska Aces on Sunday.

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