BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone insisted Greg Slaughter remains a valuable part of the team despite the Gin Kings managing to rule the PBA Governors’ Cup even without their star center.
Slaughter recently underwent surgery to repair the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee, and is expected to be out for at least six months, meaning he could be sidelined at least until late in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“If we’re lucky, (he’ll return) maybe late second conference, but to be honest, third conference,” Cone said on Friday. “We want him back as soon as we can, but we’re going to be smart about it.”
“We’re going to try to hold the fort ‘til he comes back,” he added. “We had Justin (Brownlee) now, so it’s going to be a struggle for us in the all-Filipino without him, but that’s the way it goes. Joe (Devance), Dave (Marcelo), and Jervy (Cruz) are going to have to step up and play big moments for us.”
But following the championship run, there are questions on whether the 28-year-old Slaughter is still a good fit for a team that now thrives on a fast-paced offense.
Cone, however, underlined the value of the towering slotman.
“He’s the kind of guy that, when everything breaks down and you don’t have anything to do, you always have something to do with him,” the champion coach explained.
“It’s like (June Mar) Fajardo: you may struggle, you can’t shoot shots, you can’t do this, but you’ll always have that alternative of being able to dump him the ball and him being able to do something for you.
“You never run out of options as long as you have Greg on your team,” he added. “That’s why he’s so valuable.”
“You don’t replace a Greg Slaughter. You just don’t,” Cone continued. “Justin did a great imitation of it, but still, we’re fortunate to win this thing without Greg.”