CHICAGO - You don't have to be a basketball expert to know that Greg Slaughter is special. You just need a pair of good eyes.
He moves exceedingly well at 7-foot, 256 pounds. And when healthy and motivated, he is unstoppable, wisely using his heft and length as a weapon to murder the opposition.
While at Ginebra, Greg, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, helped the league's most popular franchise to four titles. He also burnished his own credentials along the way, pocketing a Rookie of the Year award, a Best Player of the Conference honor, and a place in the Mythical Team.
So why did Ginebra unload a rare asset?
Well, this is where simple leaves the conversation. So put down your beer on this Friday night and take a read.
As told by my colleagues at SPIN.ph, the relationship started to go sour right before the start of the 45th season and just weeks after Ginebra captured the Governor's Cup crown.
With no contract offer on the table, Greg left for the United States in 2019 and began a journey of self-discovery where he attempted to find a better version of himself.
Some called it a sabbatical. I call it a one-man mutiny.
There was blood in the water. Slights like these are often forgiven, but never forgotten.
When he returned to the Philippines last September, it was reported that Greg had "smoked the peace pipe with SMC management."
Apparently, the pipe used didn't have enough nicotine to consummate the reconciliation. So the smoke came puffing with mirrors.
But the Kings did ink Greg to a contract, a move that coach Tim Cone himself announced. It's now clear that the signing was a function of necessity rather than need.
LIKE A SKILLED POKER SHARK, GINEBRA PLAYED ITS CARDS PERFECTLY.
They signed to keep Greg's rights and waited for the perfect asset to fall on their lap. And that chunk and hunk of gold turned out to be 6-foot-8 Christan Standhardinger of NorthPort.
Greg is 32. His conditioning is suspect. And the Gin Kings won without him, at the Philippine Cup bubble no less.
GregZilla, once a mighty, indestructible force, had simply become expendable for the Kings.
Ginebra will definitely miss their lovable giant. But C-Stan, who has been balling his heart out since forever, will make them forget Greg quickly.
Would Greg still be with Ginebra had he not left the team?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But here's one thing that is sure.
Alfrancis Chua is a street you don't want to cross.