Cone wants Slaughter back with Champion Kings
This current edition of Barangay Ginebra has won a championship in each of the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) past four seasons, including the recent Philippine Cup, the lone tournament of the league’s milestone 45th season that was played over a marathon 71 days inside a bubble.
History dictates that the winner of the all-Filipino crown gets a crack at shooting an extraordinary prize: A rare Grand Slam.
And the Gin Kings would’ve been deep in Grand Slam talks by now if not for the bizarre events of this year. And though they would be in line for a triple crown should they rule next season’s opening conference, the Kings’ coach says it won’t count.
“First of all the Grand Slam has to be done on a calendar year,” coach Tim Cone told the Inquirer with a smile. “So you know, no Grand Slam this year.”
“If we win the next conference, that’d be just three titles in a row,” he said.
Which is why Cone has just set his sights on other matters.
“Hopefully, we figure out what’s with Greg [Slaughter] and get him back in the lineup,” Cone said.
Slaughter made the news in the offseason when he reportedly refused a contract extension, which would have greased a trade that would send him to NorthPort in exchange for high-motor big man Christian Standhardinger.
He continued to train during his “sabbatical” in the United States and even signed with an international basketball agency in July.
“It was a big loss—playing without him,” Cone said of the former No. 1 draft pick.
Surely, Ginebra missed the 7-foot Slaughter during the campaign. The Gin Kings could have used a deadlier front line of him and Japeth Aguilar in a season without the league’s most prolific big man, six-time league most valuable player June Mar Fajardo, who continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired leg.
“[Getting him back] is a gain … He’s raring to come back and work something out with the company. We want him back,” he added.
“I know he’s texting and wanting to get back to [team],” he said of his ward who married longtime partner Schinina Juban on Thursday as the team made it’s way back to Manila.
“In fact we’re supposed to be meeting with him via Zoom,” he said.
“He knows that [we want him back] and we’re gonna make an effort so we could look a little differently in the next all-Filipino. We’ll see.”
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