IT’S the kind of dilemma Barangay Ginebra doesn’t mind facing.
As owner of this year’s top overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft, the Kings appeared to be torn between talented big guys Greg Slaughter and Ian Sangalang ahead of the November 3 event at the Robinson’s Place Manila.
Boyet Fernandez, who handled both players at NLEX in the PBA D-League, offered his two cents of worth on the matter by dissecting the talent and level skills of both Slaughter and Sangalang and at the same time, how each of them could help the Kings as the No. 1 selection overall.
For starters, Fernandez said, “They can’t go wrong with any of the two guys.”
“Depende sa need ng Ginebra yang choice nila diyan. If they want a natural big guy, they get Slaughter. If they want a running big who is versatile, Ian yun!” added the former PBA champion coach, who coached the two bigs when the Road Warrions won the Foundation Cup title last year.
Fernandez said Slaugher can be a very good asset owing to his towering 7-foot-1 height and decent perimeter shooting.
“Ginebra really lacks a natural big man eh. Tignan mo naman lineup nila. May Kerby (Raymund) sila at (Japeth) Aguilar puro hindi natural five yun,” he pointed out.
“Sentro nila si Mamaril pero hindi masyadong malaki. Kailangan nila ng natural big at mukhang si Slaughter yun,” added Fernandez.
But while the NLEX coach contends Slaughter can fill in the big void of Ginebra in the middle, Sangalang can ultimately fit the run and gun style of the team.
“Slaughter kasi is more of a set-up player. To best utilize him, you look for him in the post. Pero si Ian, he can run up and down with Ginebra stars like Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio,” added Fernandez.
Asked why the Road Warriors lost in the last D-League Finals to Blackwater Sports with Sangalang out and only Slaughter the one left of the team's Twin Towers, Fernandez said it had something to do with the sudden adjustment the team had to make.
“Si Greg nung dumating siya, sanay na kaming walang big man. Kaya nung bumalik si Greg nung playoffs, binago ko ng kaunti `yung play nun, medyo nag-change `yung tempo namin,” he said.
“Gamble din yun nung bumalik sa amin si Greg. Kasi ginawa sa amin ng Blackwater, everytime nandun si Greg tinatakbuhan kami. Tapos pag pumoste sa ilalim si Greg, dino-double team naman nila,” said Fernandez.
Blackwater star center Justin Chua credited the Elite’s defense for the upset over the highly-favored Road Warriors during the Foundation Cup finals.
“Napaganda lang `yung depensa namin kaya nagkaroon ng better offensive chances sa kanila,” said Chua, who like Slaughter and Sangalang, has also entered the draft.
“Medyo kasi alam ko ang depensa kay Greg. Alam ko kung ano mga gagawin niya. Mahirap siya pigilan pag nasa ilalim halos sure two points yun kasi ang laki niya eh,” said Chua, a former back-up of Slaughter at Ateneo in the UAAP.
So effective was Chua’s defense on Slaughter that he was able to clamp down on the towering center, limiting him to just 10.5 points a game while he himself tallied 17 points in the series.
“Pero pag nasa labas pa siya alam ko gagawin niya, kaya alam ko ang bantay,” added Chua, who is reportedly being eyed by Globaport in the coming draft.
Asked if the Elite could have won the last Finals had Sangalang was still with the Road Warriors, Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy said, “Malamang nahirapan kami.”