Tim Cone hopeful Greg Slaughter will still return to Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra is gearing up for the coming PBA season without 7-foot center Greg Slaughter, but head coach Tim Cone isn’t giving up just yet.
Cone said he’s hoping Slaughter will still be able to rejoin the Gin Kings sooner than later.
“He’s pretty adamant about his decision, he wants to take a break. I think it’s more of a mental break than anything and perhaps get himself right,” said Cone during PBA Media Day Thursday at Okada Manila.
“I do believe he’ll be back, I’m just not sure when. We’re hoping any time soon. But at the end of the day, we’re ready to play without him, but hopefully, he’ll be back in the second conference.”
Slaughter announced earlier in February that he will be take a break after his contract with the Gin Kings expired.
Playing and winning without Slaughter isn’t new for the Gin Kings, though, with the team taking the 2016 Governors’ Cup without the big man.
Cone added that with Slaughter out for an indefinite period of time, he expects power forward Japeth Aguilar to take the next step.
“I think this is going to be an opportunity for Japeth to spread his wings and play. He’s always wanted to play 38, 40, 42 minutes a game,” said Cone. “He gets mad every time I take him out, so he’s going to get that opportunity now without Greg.”
Aguilar was named the Finals MVP in the past Governors’ Cup and the closest he’s been to the season MVP was in 2017 and 2018 when he was named to the Mythical Team.
“It’ll be fun to watch how Japeth grows this conference,” said Cone. “He can just go whenever he wants to, he’s jumping to that next level. It’s a good time for him to jump to that next level, we really need him.”
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