HIS failure to make the final cut of Gilas Pilipinas last year and the subsequent elimination of Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals of the recent PBA Philippine Cup have motivated rookie big man Greg Slaughter to do even better by trying to build a stronger and well-built physique.
Slaughter, the 6-foot-11 freshman center is coming off a solid debut conference as a pro after averaging 15.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 assists in 23 games during the All-Filipino conference where the Kings fell at the semifinal stage after being ousted by eventual champion San Mig in a decisive Game Seven.
But despite coming up short in his bid to win a first-ever PBA title, Slaughter received a piece of good news on Friday when he was named among the 17 players who will comprise the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the Fiba-World Cup in Spain later this year.
Back when he was still an amateur, Slaughter, along with Rain or Shine's Beau Belga, was among the last players to be cut by coach Chot Reyes to comprise the Gilas Pilipinas squad that finished runner-up in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila last year.
While aware competition for a roster spot at Gilas will be tough, Slaughter, now a full-fledged pro, said he’ll try to give it his best shot to make the final 12 once the national squad starts its once-a-week training on Monday at the Philsports Arena.
“After the first conference and how exciting it was and then, coming up short in the semifinals, it has really motivated me (to work even harder in the conference break),” Slaughter shared to Spin.ph on Saturday.
But to get a shot at a place in the World Cup team, the former Ateneo star from Cebu knows he has to be stronger and better than he was during his first stint with Gilas - the reason he is motivated to work hard in the months ahead.
“Definitely, for sports, the body is your base, so I’ve got to have the body and the skill,” he added.
Still, the top rookie pick overall will definitely have his hands full vying for a spot in Gilas’ frontline against naturalized player Marcus Douthit, Ginebra teammate Japeth Aguilar, San Mig forward Marc Pingris, Talk ‘N Text’s Ranidel de Ocampo and Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer.
Aside from Slaughter and Belga, the other new faces in Reyes' training pool for the World Cup are Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee, San Miguel gunner Marcio Lassiter, and Meralco’s Jared Dillinger.