FROM the cadet players who manned the fort for Gilas Pilipinas in back-to-back tournaments in Dubai and Hong Kong over the past month, one name stood out in national coach Chot Reyes' mind when asked who among them has a shot at a place in his Fiba-Asia team.
Reyes acknowledged the seven-footer and another big man from Cebu, June Mar Fajardo, will be candidates for one of the frontline spots when he starts putting the pieces together on a Gilas team that will play before home fans in the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship in August.
"We're looking at Greg in case Fajardo can't make it," said Reyes, a day after leading a Gilas team made up mostly of collegiate stars to the 19th Super Kung Sheung Cup title in Hong Kong without the loss of a single game.
The national coach said Garvo Lanete and Matt Ganuelas may also have shots at stints in the August showpiece, but conceded that their hopes are not as bright as Slaughter's since "there are too many other (candidates) in their spots."
The other cadet pool members of the champion team, led by tournament MVP Kevin Alas, are shoo-ins for the squad that will defend the Southeast Asian Games title in Myanmar later in the year.
Reyes has been granted the green light by the PBA board to pick one player per team for his Fiba-Asia team, giving him the opportunity to finally get his hands on the 6-10 Fajardo or any other Petron player of his choice after several failed attempts in the past.
But with Reyes' choices limited to only one player per team, Slaughter should come in handy in the back-up role to naturalized player Marcus Douthit should the Gilas coach pass up on Fajardo in favor of another player from Petron's talented lineup like an Arwind Santos or Chris Lutz.
"Height and smarts," was Reyes' response when asked what convinced him to take a closer look at Slaughter.
The two-time UAAP champion with Ateneo came off the bench for Douthit in Hong Kong, playing his best game in a 119-46 rout of a hapless Malaysian squad in the eliminations where he scored 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the floor.
Asked what Slaughter needs to work on to nail a spot in the Fiba-Asia squad, Reyes emphatically said the Fil-American slotman "needs to be quicker, stronger, meaner."