TIM Cone hasn’t had the benefit of a healthy Greg Slaughter for an entire season in his more than two years at the helm of Barangay Ginebra.
Yet, he still has high regard for the injury-prone big man, who he referred to as a ‘difference-maker.’
“Teams have to play us differently when he’s playing,” said the Ginebra coach. “When he’s on the floor, he opens up a lot for other people because he’s a constant threat out there.”
Keeping patient with Slaughter, Cone welcomed back the 7-foot center as he played his first game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night after a three-month stint on the injury list owing to a severe ankle sprain.
The 29-year-old Fil-Am scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, helping the Kings cruise past winless Blackwater Elite, 105-91, for their first win in three outings in the mid-season conference.
Slaughter’s game showed he’s yet in perfect playing shape, although Cone expects him to get better in the coming playing days.
“It’s his first game in a couple of months so he’s not yet in shape that he wants to be in,” said the champion mentor.
Barring another injury on the former Ateneo standout, Cone sees better things coming for Slaughter and Barangay Ginebra, too.
“If there won’t be recurrence, he’s going to get better and better and stronger. And I think we’ll get better and better along with him,” stressed Cone.