COMING off a humbling loss to Meralco on Tuesday, rookie Greg Slaughter said Barangay Ginebra must play to its strengths if it hopes to be successful against three-time PBA Philippine Cup champion Talk 'N Text in their much-awaited showdown on Sunday.
The 6-foot-11 Slaughter felt Ginebra fell into a trap laid down by Meralco by failing to maximize its biggest strength, which is the team’s size, against the undersized Bolts, leading to a 87-100 loss that halted the Gin Kings' streak of three wins to begin the season.
“I think we adjusted to them (Bolts) and played their game,” said Slaughter, who was held to just seven points and six rebounds in 21 minutes against Meralco - all career lows for the top pick in this season's rookie draft.
Ginebra coach Ato Agustin tried to match up with Meralco when the Bolts went with a small roster of Sunday Salvacion, Jared Dillinger, John Wilson and Mike Cortez, with Rabeh Al-Hussaini as the lone legitimate big man on the floor, during the second half - a move which eventually backfired.
With Dillinger, Cortez, Wilson and Salvacion taking turns hitting their outside shots, the Gin Kings fell behind by as much as 25 points and never recovered while Slaughter watched from the bench.
“I think we tried to change our lineup. But I think that’s not how we were winning (in the first three games),” explained the former Ateneo star from Cebu.
The past days in practice since that loss to the Bolts, Slaughter said Ginebra has been making the necessary adjustments ahead of the meeting against Talk ‘N Text.
But Slaughter is the first to warn that Ginebra won't have it easy against the Texters, who are coached by his former mentor at Ateneo, Norman Black.
“They (Texters) are a disciplined team. And surely, coach Norman knows what he’s doing. They are a tough team,” added Slaughter, who averages 13.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks this conference.