Good Enough for Gilas: Greg Slaughter

2014 is going to be a BIG year for Philippine basketball. This year will mark the first time two of our Philippine National Teams (Men’s and U17) will march onto the world stage and compete at the highest level of international hoops. Our very own Gilas Pilipinas squad will go to Spain and play in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, while the Philippine U17 Team, coached by Jamike Jarin, will troop over to Dubai for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championships.

Needless to say, this is shaping up to be a really interesting and promising year for local hoops. Even if both these teams go home empty-handed in terms of medals, they will return as heroes and, perhaps more importantly, gain significant experience that they can use for future battles.

Who's good enough to join the 2014
Gilas Pilipinas national pool?
(image from the Smart-Gilas 2.0 Facebook page)

Speaking of future battles, several other international tournaments of note will take place this year. At the youth level, we will send a team to the 2014 SEABA U18 Championships and the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 Championships in Doha, Qatar. At the senior level, we will have two more marquee tournaments to prep for: the 2014 SEABA Stankovic Cup (May), the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in China (July), and the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.


In light of these things, it’s only fit to look at  players we can consider putting in the Gilas Pilipinas talent pool. There are currently thirteen names automatically on that list, of course. These are the twelve guys who played for Gilas in the 2013 FIBA Asia tournament here in Manila and one guy left on reserve:

  • Marcus Douthit (naturalized player)
  • June Mar Fajardo (Petron Blaze)
  • Ranidel De Ocampo (Talk N Text)
  • Marc Pingris (San Mig Super Coffee)
  • Japeth Aguilar (Ginebra)
  • Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine)
  • Jeff Chan (Rain or Shine)
  • Larry Fonacier (Talk N Text)
  • Gary David (Meralco)
  • Jimmy Alapag (Talk N Text)
  • LA Tenorio (Ginebra)
  • Jayson Castro (Talk N Text)
  • Beau Belga (Rain or Shine)

It’s been reported that the Gilas Pilipinas brain trust is keen on tapping more players to join the pool, with the magic number pegged at 24. That means that there are still around eleven slots open.

This is the first in a series of posts detailing the players who can be part of that pool, based on many factors. For each named individual, we will look at the good things he can bring to the pool, his probable role should he get named to the final Gilas lineup, and the possible match-ups he will have at the Asian and world levels.

Today, we’ll talk about one of the most obvious picks — Ginebra’s 7-foot rookie center, Greg Slaughter.

Greg Slaughter is a potentially solid big man
for our national quintet.
(image by Rogelio Amat)

What he brings to the table:
By virtue of being a legitimate 7-footer (okay, fine, like 6 feet and 11.7875 inches maybe?), Slaughter is a no-brainer consideration, but leaving it at that is a disservice to his experience and skill-set. Slaughter has actually donned the national colors a couple of times, playing in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games (he recorded a nice 18-point, 13-rebound line against North Korea in one game) and the 2011 Jakarta SEA Games. Slaughter was also a part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool last year, though Marcus Douthit and June Mar Fajardo were picked ahead of him to man the center position.

Currently, Greg is doing splendidly in the PBA, where he was drafted number one overall in 2013 by the Ginebra Gin Kings. He’s currently averaging 15.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game, and has played a big role in helping Ginebra top the eliminations and advance to the semifinals.

Greg’s presence is obviously a big factor because he adds much-needed ceiling to the national team. The last 7-footer we had on the squad was EJ Feihl back in the late 90s, and Slaughter is definitely a huge step up from the former Adamson Falcon. Greg does most of his damage in the paint as he gets offensive boards or receives entry passes/handoffs very close to the basket, but he can also spot up from midrange or execute with his back to the basket. His size enables him to alter opponents’ shots in the shaded area, and he can dominate on the glass.


Why he is a good fit for Gilas:
With coach Chot continuing to run a dribble-drive system, a big man wouldn’t really need to be a beast on the low block (Remember Marcus Douthit back in 2011? Those days are gone.). Instead, the center is expected to simply play off screens and cuts, looking for open spots and teammates filling the lanes. Greg’s skill-set is perfect for that kind of system. This means he wouldn’t need to dominate possessions or hold the ball for extended periods of time, which is good because he has been known to lose the rock when he gets double or triple-teamed. If Greg can be consistent with his jumpers and boxing out, then he could form a lethal one-two punch with June Mar Fajardo in the very near future.


Potential match-ups:
FIBA-Asia: Hamed Haddadi (IRI), Wang Zhelin (CHN), Mohammad Shaher Hussain (JOR)
FIBA World Cup: Alexis Ajinca (FRA), Marc Gasol (ESP), Gustavo Ayon (MEX)

We just might see Greg Slaughter go up against this guy -- Gustavo Ayon.
(image from YouTube.com)

Greg is not the most fleet-footed big man you’ll find coasting up and down the hardwood floor. Though he was known to run the floor in his college days at Ateneo, he’s not exactly the kind of guy who matches up well against more mobile and athletic bigs. He’ll have a hard time catching up with the likes of Korea’s Kim Jong-Kyu or Taiwan’s Tseng Wen-Ting, for instance. Instead, he’s better suited to square off against other burly centers who like to play the low post old school style. Make him bump bodies with some of the guys mentioned above, and he might have a fair chance of slowing them down, but have him guard someone who can shoot the face up or use a quick drop step, and he might have a lot of trouble.

In the next post, we’ll take a look at another big man who can make the grade for Gilas — Alaska’s Sonny Thoss.


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4 Comment
avatar

how is his eligibility issue? Thanks.

Balas
avatar

Good question. That's another matter altogether, but because he already played in the Asian Games, there's a fair chance he will be allowed. No guarantees, though, since, technically, Greg was born in the US, and he never played for any of the Philippine youth teams before.

Balas
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But he played college ball here in the Philippines right? And wasn't he raised here? Kasi galing sya ng Cebu, hindi ba sya dito lumaki?

Balas
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I guess those could be arguments in his favor, but FIBA usually gives more weight to where a person was born, which is also why someone like Matt Ganuelas Rosser is outright considered eligible. Hope Greg is seen as eligible, though.

Balas