GREG Slaughter admitted it's just not the same without frontline partner Japeth Aguilar.
But Greg did well by his lonesome.
The 6-foot-11 slotman contributed 20 points and six rebounds in extended minutes in Aguilar's absence as Ginebra beat Rain or Shine, 102-89, in Game One of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal playoff.
“Man, it’s huge. Japeth is a real big part of our everything, you know. It’s a big blow for us,” Slaughter said while keeping his fingers crossed that Aguilar will recover in time from an Achilles injury to play in Game Two.
“We’re hoping he could come back the next game and hopefully, it’s not too bad and he can join us again in this series.”
Without his 'twin towers' partner, Slaughter had to work double time while combining with Joe Devance, Jervy Cruz, Raymond Aguilar and import Justin Brownlee in a concerted attempt at limiting ROS behemoth Reggie Johnson.
Although Johnson still came away with 30 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists for Rain or Shine, the Ginebra defense forced the import to miss 14 of his 27 shots and turn the ball over four times.
Slaughter tipped his hat to Johnson, saying: “He’s a handful. It was hard to guard him with his size and it was as difficult to score on him. Luckily, we were able to get in his head and frustrate him a little bit.”
But the Cebuano center knows better than to fall into the trap of complacency as he expects a hell of a fight from the Elastopainters come Tuesday.
“It’s relieving to get the first win, but we can’t celebrate it too much. We got one day and we play again and it could easily be evened up the next game if we’re not prepared,” he said.
“After winning like that, I expect Rain or Shine to bounce back really hard. We just got to be prepared and can’t let our guard down from the beginning of the game.”