Slaughter working to fit in again with Ginebra after long absence
MANILA, Philippines – The most crucial job of 7-foot center Greg Slaughter for the forseeable future is to figure out how he can fit into Barangay Ginebra San Miguel again following a long layoff.
Slaughter last played for the Gin Kings on September 9, 2016 against the now KIA Picanto franchise. He had just come back from a knee injury at that point but promptly blew it out again, totaling his absence to over a year.
Without him, Ginebra quickened its pace and ended an 8-year title drought a year ago in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup. Now though, Ginebra has to adjust to having Slaughter back as they try to defend the title in the same conference. And the former Ateneo Blue Eagle is putting that burden on himself.
"I think we just have some chemistry to figure out, you know? I’m coming in after over a year, during that time we really had a lot of success, so it’s up to me to try to figure out how to fit in with everyone," he said after his first game back on Sunday, July 23.
"We have a different style of play now. So I'm looking how I can fit in, help everyone else, complement our team to be better."
Slaughter had 14 points and 14 rebounds over 30 minutes in a 93-78 loss to last year's finals rivals Meralco Bolts. The issue with chemistry was evident in Ginebra groping for offensive rhythm and mustering only a point (against Meralco's 18) in fastbreak points – an area they normally thrived in.
"I think just getting used to each other," explained Slaughter, whose presence on the floor had Ginebra giving up 12 points to the opponent.
"It was different when I wasn’t in there. But now we got Justin (Brownlee) sliding off in the wing, we gotta find a way to get Justin in there 'cause we all know how great of a player he is.
"We have to find a way to get everybody involved and we gotta find a way we can control the rebounds. That's a really big task I think for me and Japeth (Aguilar) especially."
Ginebra was visibly stiff on offense as they suffocated against Meralco's well-oiled defensive juggernaut. Every attempt was a grinding challenge and they couldn't keep up on the other end with the Bolts using their speed. Meralco won over Ginebra for the first time this season or since Game 3 of last year's Governors' Cup Finals.
Guard LA Tenorio had 16 points in 3 quarters (he sat out the fourth), but was a minus-16 in 31 minutes. Justin Brownlee had 13 markers on 5-of-15 shooting with Ginebra outscored by 12 in his 39 minutes on the floor.
The Gin Kings will regroup and try to get a win against GlobalPort on Sunday, July 30.
"I think all of us are really motivated," Slaughter said. "I’m kinda happy we got a week before our next game 'cause we need to get in there, try to figure out some things, need to talk to some of my teammates, see how I can come in and try to help them." – Rappler.com