Greg Slaughter backs out of Gilas pool

MANILA, Philippines - Gilas Pilipinas just got 7-feet shorter.  

Former Gilas pool member Greg Slaughter has declined the invitation to play for the FIBA World Cup-bound Gilas Pilipinas.

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel rookie big man made the announcement on Friday, March 7 as he appeared before the press during the first game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.  

According to the 7-footer, he does not want to get in the way of the 12 Gilas Pilipinas members who bagged the silver in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships to qualify for this year's World Cup in Spain. 

"I'm honored to be selected for that (Gilas). But just in my past 4 years of experience there, I know the feeling of having new people coming into something you've already started,” he explained. "And having that pressure of not knowing the roster spots and everything. I think the thing that they started back in August, they won that. I think that those 12 should be the ones to go on and represent the country in Spain and any future national teams after that I'll be more than willing to play for." 

Slaughter, who was included by Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes to the now 17-man pool, said he first spoke to Reyes about his decision on Monday, March 3 after the first practice of the national squad at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig. 

"Coach Chot's a very understanding person. He respected my decision and said it was okay."

He added: "I had consulted a lot of people about it. Prayed about it a lot. I just feel that it's right to people that started that, they worked so hard for that, the things they went through for that, they deserve this."

He said the decision in no way came easy to him. But he stands firm by it and looks forward to playing for the nationals in the future, after the time of this particular 12-man pool. 

"I realize that the World Championship, that may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. But hopefully in the future we can make it again."

He said he also won't be playing for the Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea. 

Slaughter, a former Ateneo Blue Eagle, was drafted first overall in the 2013 rookie draft, was among the last to be cut from the Gilas roster for last year's FIBA Asia Championships. - Rappler.com