GREG Slaughter's injury has set back whatever gains Barangay Ginebra had in its first two conferences of the season under coach Tim Cone, said Kings guard LA Tenorio.
“It really held back the plans of the coaching staff especially ang ganda ng first two conferences ni Greg,” said Tenorio prior to going with Gilas Pilipinas in Europe for a three-week training camp as part of its preparations for the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“Pero andyan na yan, although back to zero na naman kami.”
The 6-11 Ginebra center underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair an ankle injury that has been bothering him for a long time now.
The operation meant missing out on what could have been a sure stint with Gilas in the Olympic qualifier, and, worse, sitting out a number of games – if not the entire season-ending PBA Governors Cup.
Japeth Aguilar, Slaughter’s frontcourt partner at Ginebra, recalled how the 28-year-old big man had been complaining about the ankle as early as last year’s Governors Cup.
“Time pa lang ni coach Frankie (Lim) sinasabi niya na sa akin yun,” said Aguilar, who also joined Tenorio and the rest of the Gilas team in its trip to Greece, Turkey, and Italy.
“Pero nung dumating si coach Tim (Cone), siyempre na-excite siya. He wants to feel how it likes to play under coach Tim, kaya na-delay na ng na-delay yung surgery niya,” said Aguilar.
Both Tenorio and Aguilar showed up the first time Ginebra conducted its practice in preparation for the final conference of the season. Slaughter was also there at the Greenmedows gym, walking around with an aircast boot on his operated foot.
“Hopefully not, pero sa tingin namin out talaga (siya for the conference),” said Tenorio on how he sees Slaughter’s condition.
Cone is also hopeful the case of Slaughter is not as bad as everybody thought, but just the same, he’s bracing for the worst.
“The best case scenario is that he’ll probably missed maybe the first two weeks of the conference. But those best case scenarios always never work,” said the two-time grand slam mentor. “We’re really thinking longer than that. Maybe he’ll miss the whole conference, we’ll see.”
But instead of sulking, both Cone and Tenorio wants to turn the Slaughter injury into a rallying point for a team that has now gone without a championship for eight seasons.
“Yung pagkawala ni Greg, tapos yung bagong import namin (Paul Harris), sana makagawa kami ng something special (out of it),” said the national team point guard.
“We can survive,” Cone pointed out. “We’ll have the next conference, and the next conference after that. We’ll have five or 10 years with (a healthy) Greg.”