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    Slaughter nostalgic as he rejoins PH team, seven years after Gilas stint

    Sep 4, 2018
    PHOTO: marlo cueto

    THE serif print and bold, rounded numbers on his jersey looked a little out of place in a sea of blue on Monday.

    But the sight of Greg Slaughter wearing the national tri-colors felt just right as the Philippine men's national team buckled down to work on Monday at Meralco Gym.

    For the Ginebra big man, he's just happy to be able to wear these blue uniforms anew, something which he believed was seven years in the making.

    "I didn't know if they had my measurements," he said as he wore his practice uniforms from the original Smart Gilas program. "This original one, this measures me specifically and has a plus-four (inches of) length on it. It fits me perfectly."

    Slaughter last wore his Pilipinas jersey No. 9 in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta, winning gold in the men's tournament there.

    There were chances before, with the closest inclusion being in the pool for the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Seville, Spain before begging off later on.

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    This time, it's different.

    That's why Slaughter, now 30, is more than elated to take these blue jerseys off of his cabinet after staying there for a long time.

    "These jerseys have moved a few places with me, too. These are something I'm gonna keep forever. I'm happy to bring it out, dust it off, and put it back on today," he said, reminiscing about the memories of his time in the Rajko Toroman-mentored Philippine team.

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    "When I was first on this team, I'm like a 20-year-old kid and it was definitely fun for me. I was young, learned a lot, and I didn't realize how great of an opportunity I had at the time."

    But now, Slaughter is back with a vengeance as he hopes to make this national team stint count as the Philippines braces for Iran on September 13 in Tehran, which could set him up with another duel against famed center Hamed Haddadi.

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      The Cebuano giant, though, acknowledges that it would take more than limiting Haddadi to topple the Asian powerhouse, especially in the opponent's home floor.

      "If we're gonna beat Iran, it's not gonna be one-on-one. I know I can play a big role and bring in my size, defending abilities, but it's gonna take a team effort to bring down one of the top Asian teams in Iran," he said as Team Philippines prepares for the second round of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.

      "It'll be a fulfilling experience if we can, coming full circle like that, being on the first one and having success in this tournament window. So definitely, we're highly motivated to bring success to this team, not just for our countrymen but for some unfinished business we had in our first Gilas team."

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      PHOTO: marlo cueto
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