A NINE-DAY break has given Ginebra enough to get its act together and be ready for the coming playoffs of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The long rest, according to center Greg Slaughter, augurs well for the Kings who had dropped successive games to San Miguel Beer, 77-79, and Meralco, 109-99, and slipped back in the chase for the two outright berths in the semifinals.
The 6-foot-11 Slaughter averaged 21 points and 15.5 points in both losses, although his main focus at this point is how to help the Kings regain their swagger on the defensive end.
“We’re just looking at talking to each other, make minor adjustments. But we need to play with more (defensive) intensity. We want to finish strong at the end of the eliminations,” Slaughter related to Spin.ph after the team’s practice on Thursday.
Slaughter, last season’s Rookie of the Year, explained the Kings can’t afford to play fall behind by big margins during games, the way they did when they fell short against the Beermen and the Bolts.
“It was tough the past two games to play catch-up. We had to fight back. Of course, it’s good effort for the team, but we don’t want to be in a situation where we have to fight back (every time),” explained the former Ateneo big man.
Ginebra ranked second in the league in defense during its first six games, holding the opposition to an average of just 77.5 points per game on the way to a fiery 5-1 start.
But the Kings failed to show the same defensive effort in their losses to the Beermen and the Bolts where they gave up an average of 94 points.
Ginebra is currently in the middle of an eight-day respite, before returning to action this Sunday against GlobalPort, followed by a crucial match against league-leader Alaska on Tuesday.
“We’ve got back-to-back games coming up, but practice feels good because we have about nine days to prepare. We just got to be ready,” added the 26-year-old Slaughter.