On path of redemption, Slaughter gives coach Jarencio reason to be excited
Greg Slaughter has not seen organized basketball action for over a year, but Pido Jarencio, his new coach at NorthPort, is far from concerned.
“I’m not worried at all,” Jarencio told the Inquirer. “We all saw that he actually returned here. We could also see on his [social media posts] that he has been moving quite differently after his training in the (United) States.” The Batang Pier on Thursday sent their workhorse of a star, Christian Standhardinger, to Ginebra in exchange for Slaughter, a 7-footer who has won four titles and like Standhardinger, was once a Best Player of the Conference awardee. It was the realization of a deal that should have happened early in 2020. Inquirer sources said that Slaughter apparently got wind of the swap. Not too keen on playing for another club, he instead took a sabbatical from the sport, saying he wanted to improve himself “in all aspects.”
“I think Greg is a man on a mission,” Jarencio said of his new ward, whom he also expects to provide a much more menacing presence in the middle. “The kid wants to redeem himself. I think he wants to prove that he still has plenty to offer,” he added.
Slaughter, for his part, said that he still has his best basketball ahead of himself. “I am truly excited for this new adventure and for the next chapter in my story to begin,” he wrote in an Instagram post shortly after the league announced the trade on Friday.
“Perhaps, at one point, when he was away from the game, he looked in the mirror and said ‘This is what you have to do.’” Jarencio said.
“He would not be coming back to the Philippines if he no longer has any interest in playing,” he added.
Jarencio hopes Slaughter’s transition to his club would be free of hitches. After all, NorthPort has several players who also came from Ginebra.“He played alongside Jervy Cruz, Kevin Ferrer and even Paolo Taha. So he should be fine,” he said.
“But I’m aware of the realities: For him, this is a different team, a different system, a different situation. We’ll work it out.” It’s the same guarded optimism Jarencio emphasized when asked about his projections for the new PBA season, which tentatively begins on April 9.NorthPort is now free from the shackles of injuries that weighed the Batang Pier down during the last season. And the club is also set to receive three promising talents during the Rookie Draft on March 14. INQ