GREG Slaughter continued to play down his individual matchup with June Mar Fajardo on Sunday, and instead looked forward to facing San Miguel Beer as a unit again in a more crucial setting in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Facing off for the first time since last year’s Commissioner’s Cup eliminations, Slaughter posted a relatively better offensive performance than Fajardo, tallying 16 points on 6-fo-11 shooting along with seven boards in just 22 minutes.
Fajardo was held to just 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting as he battled foul trouble, although he grabbed 15 boards and came out victorious.
“I wouldn't really think about individual matchups because we got down pretty big,” Slaughter said. “San Miguel's a pretty complete team and coming into this game, I was saying it's not about the individual matchups. It's team-on-team.”
Asked if the Gin Kings’ grueling schedule that saw them play back-to-back games, the first on Friday against Blackwater, affected their sluggish start against the Beermen, Slaughter refused to pin the blame on it.
“We can't make any excuse because when it comes time for the playoffs, we're going to have a schedule just like that, we play Friday and then we play Sunday,” Slaughter said. “So no excuses, they just came out more prepared than us tonight.”
At least the Gin Kings refused to go down without a fight, cutting a 26-point deficit to just eight points in the end, before folding.
And if the playoffs started after the day’s doubleheader with Ginebra finishing on top and San Miguel Beer wound up at fourth spot, the sister squads could meet in the semifinals once they dispatch their respective quarterfinal foes.
“That's our calling card, never say die,” Slaughter said. “We play all the way to the last buzzer, and just didn't have enough time to make that comeback tonight but I know we'll probably see them again in the playoffs so it's just some game we have to learn from.”