Cone, Ginebra hope to sustain PBA resurgence after 'devastating' loss of Slaughter
Greg Slaughter is feared to be out for months due to a suspected ACL tear. Jerome Ascano

IT'S business as usual for Barangay Ginebra as it seeks to overcome Greg Slaughter’s absence starting in the game against Phoenix in their PBA Governors’ Cup matchup on Wednesday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Ginebra has shown it can succeed without their star big man when Slaughter was sidelined three months after undergoing ankle surgery. Not it seeks to pick up from where it left off after Slaughter is feared to have torn his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee upon his return.

“Losing Greg at this point is devastating to the team and, of course, to Greg, himself,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said on Tuesday. “He was the guy we pinned our hopes on to come into the team and push us over the top. And for Greg, he was so extremely excited to get back on the court with his teammates.”

“But now his return this conference doesn’t seem likely, we’ll have to do what we’ve been doing all conference, and that is stepping up in his absence,” he added. “We’ll just have to put on a brave face and move forward. That starts with Phoenix.”

[See Cone confirms initial diagnosis points to ACL tear for Slaughter]

The Gin Kings, running second with a 7-2 win-loss record and already assured of a Top Four spot that comes with a twice-to-beat advantage, are bracing for a Fuel Masters side that’s not yet out of the woods with a 5-5 slate.

“They are fighting for their playoff lives, so we’ll have to put Greg’s injury aside and meet their intensity,” Cone said. “It will be a great character test for us.”

Prolific imports Justin Brownlee and Eugene Phelps are expected to cancel each other out, leaving the locals’ production spelling the biggest difference in the 7 p.m. encounter that’s preceded by a non-bearing game between eliminated squads GlobalPort and Blackwater.

[See Can Ginebra win without Greg? Vanguardia thinks so]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos