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Mar 18, 2019

Injury to Dillinger and De Ocampo leaves Meralco severely handicapped in its last two games

Meralco will be severely handicapped as the Bolts try to stay in playoff contention with Jared Dillinger and possibly Ranidel de Ocampo out with injuries.

Dillinger has been ruled out for the rest of the conference after re-injuring his right quad while De Ocampo missed the Bolts' 88-85 loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday due to a sore back.

"All coaches go through that," lamented Meralco coach Norman Black. "What can you do as a coach? You just take the good with the bad."

With a 3-6 (win-lost) record, the Bolts are hard-pressed to win their last two games to hopefully stay in contention for a playoff berth.

Meralco battles Alaska on Wednesday before facing Ginebra on March 24. Both games will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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As things stand, the Bolts are deeply in trouble and Black knows well they need to win their last two assignment or they are bound to miss the playoffs of the Philippine Cup for the fourth straight time.

"We have to win beat both games and It's gonna be tough," Black said.

Black said De Ocampo's presence is vital to both games.

On March 8, De Ocampo played a key role in Meralco's 126-123 overtime win over NorthPort that kept the Bolts in the playoff race.

The former national team mainstay had 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists against the Batang Pier.

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"He was very instrumental in our game against NorthPort," Black said. "We just kept posting him up and he was either scoring or passing.

"So you take that part of our game offensively from us and we looked a little bit handicapped out there offensively," Black added. (JT)