ANOTHER member of the Gilas Pilipinas training pool is in danger of missing the team’s two-week training camp in Lithuania.
Big man Greg Slaughter may not be able to join the team in its June 2-16 camp as he plans to finish his commitment with NLEX in its bid for a record-setting fifth straight PBA D-League championship.
“I’m still gonna be finishing the D-League, so I think the earliest date for the D-League to end is on June 7, but that is, if the semifinals and the Finals end in a sweep,” Slaughter confided to Spin.ph on Wednesday.
Gilas Pilipinas is winding up its regular practice on Thursday night at the San Juan Arena, before preparing for its early evening flight to Lithuania on Sunday.
At least four members of the original 17-man training pool handpicked by Chot Reyes have already been scratched from the trip owing to various injuries, namely Kelly Williams (recurring blood disorder), Jared Dillinger (fractured pelvic), Ryan Reyes (hamstring), and Sonny Thoss (back).
In the event Slaughter also fails to make it, Gilas will have to do with a 12-man training pool during the Lithuania trip which will include tune-up games against club teams in Lithuania and a training camp in the Baltic resort town of Palanga as it prepares for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship this August in Manila.
The soft-spoken former Ateneo center said should both the semis and Finals both go the full route, he’ll definitely not be able to join the national team in the training camp.
Both the D-League semis and Finals are best-of-three series.
Slaughter had initially begged off from the Road Warriors' campaign in the Foundation Cup to focus on his classes at Ateneo, but rejoined the team in the run-up to the playoffs.
There’s no question the seven-footer is a vital player in the Road Warriors’ championship bid.
In only his second game back, the former Ateneo star readily made his presence felt in NLEX’s 66-59 win over Big Chill in Game One of their Foundation Cup semis series on Tuesday at the Blue Eagle gym where he scored eight points and blocked four shots.
The Road Warriors can book their fifth straight league finals appearance in Game Two on Thursday.
Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio said they still hope to bring along Slaughter and, possibly, another NLEX forward in Matt Rosser Ganuelas in the Lithuania trip, granting the Road Warriors complete their title mission the soonest possible time.
“Kung may isang game na ma-extend (in the semis or Finals), malabo na makasama sila. Kasi kung matuloy si Greg, pati si Matt gustong isama ni Chot,” said Antonio.