SAN Mig coach Tim Cone believes Barangay Ginebra has secured its future with two major first-round acquisitions in Greg Slaughter and James Forrester in the just-concluded PBA rookie draft.
Ginebra gained a huge presence inside the paint with the acquisition of top pick overall Greg Slaughter then got Forrester at No. 4 by sending former La Salle star Rico Maierhofer and veteran Willie Wilson to Barako Bull - a move that Cone said paid handsomely for the Kings.
“They (Gin Kings) had a really good plan. They lost Rico (Maierhofer) and Willy (Wilson), but you know, they really wanted that two-guard that could come in and eventually help out Mark Caguioa and Jayjay (Helterbrand),” said Cone at the end of the draft at the Robinsons Place in Malate.
The San Mig coach said the twin acquisitions are bound to make Ginebra a formidable force this season, as the 6-11 Slaughter provides a frontline anchor to a team teeming with offensive weapons like Caguioa, Helterbrand, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and Chris Ellis.
Slaughter's presence will also allow the 6-9 Aguilar to slide down to the four spot where the Gilas Pilipinas star is clearly more comfortable.
“That’s (draft day trade to Barako Bull) a well-constructed plan. They (Gin Kings) are gonna be a bear to handle, just looking at them with Greg (Slaughter) and LA (Tenorio), a regular fixture there at the point guard position,” said the multi-titled Cone.
But more importantly, Cone said the arrival of the athletic Forrester has given Ginebra a lot of security in the backcourt when Caguioa and Helterbrand fade away from the scene in a couple of years.
Cone, in fact, sees Forrester combining with another former Ginebra first-rounder, sophomore Ellis, in the future to reprise the roles currently played by the 'Fast and Furious' pair of Caguioa and Helterbrand.
“He’s (Forrester) a very skilled, athletic guard, similar along the line with Mark Caguioa. (The Gin Kings) gave up a lot in Rico and Willy Wilson. I mean, I would have liked to have Rico back or Willy, but they got two of them and paid a lot for Forrester,” explained Cone.
“(But) Ellis and Forrester are two of the more, athletic players in the league. Manning the two and three spots, that will make them strong in a year or two as Jayjay and Mark ride to the sunset,” he said.