Slaughter OK to play as Filipino, says Fiba
LAS VEGAS—The travel-weary members of the PBA board got a piece of very good news Friday night (Saturday in Manila) while having dinner as Fiba declared Greg Slaughter eligible to play as a Filipino.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, who is also Meralco’s board representative, bared the news as the other team governors celebrated while in the middle of their meal at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s Cut at Venetian Hotel.
“This is definitely good news, more so because we all know Greg is Filipino,” Panlilio told the Inquirer. “I am happy and ecstatic. We can now all look forward to coming up with the best team possible for Gilas Pilipinas for the next windows (of the Fiba World Cup Qualifying).”
The Philippines slugs it out with Iran in Tehran on Sept. 13 before it flies home for a closed-door match with Qatar at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao four days later.
Yeng Guiao will handle the team in those two games—and, in all likelihood, for the long term after a magnificent job with a rag-tag version of a Gilas squad that finished a fighting fifth in the Asian Games in Indonesia despite having just two weeks to prepare.
Panlilio, however, expressed sadness that Stanley Pringle, who played so well in the Asiad, was declared ineligible, for not having a Philippine passport before he turned 16.
But that doesn’t shut the door on the 6-foot-1 NorthPort guard, who can still play as a naturalized player, something which Gilas could do since it would have a solid frontcourt already with Slaughter eligible and June Mar Fajardo recovering from an injury.
“That’s what we always want, to be able to send the best team possible,” added Panlilio.
The pro league’s leadership is here to chart the direction of the PBA for next year. And after leaving Manila Friday morning, stopping over in Los Angeles and arriving in Sin City after close to 24 hours, the board will meet Saturday at 1 p.m.
Among the items to be discussed will be the full participation of the league in helping the national team.
“We’re very happy with the decision on Slaughter,” commissioner Willie Marcial said.
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