MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra’s 7-foot big man Greg Slaughter is expected to return when the team takes on Mahindra on Friday, September 9.
“He’s going to start practice fully this week. We’re hoping, we’re expecting I should say, for him to play some minutes against Mahindra,” head coach Tim Cone said after Ginebra punched its 6th win this conference with a 116-103 drubbing of rival Star.
“But he’ll be coming off the bench and he’ll be playing limited minutes. We’ll be bringing him back slowly.”
The 28-year-old sat out the entire PBA Governors’ Cup so far after his ankle surgery during the summer, which also forced him to withdraw from the national team pool for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.
Slaughter, who started joining practice last week but will participate with contact in the coming week, happily watched from the sidelines as Ginebra rallied from a 17-point first half deficit and pulled away in the fourth for the thrilling victory before a 16,460-strong crowd.
“I feel ready. That was a really exciting game. Maybe the emotions are high,” Slaughter said with a smile after the game. “I’m just really excited to get back out there but it’s going to be coach Tim’s decision.”
“That was an awesome game. I can’t wait to be back out there,” he added.
Cone said Slaughter’s return will be a slow process as he expects to work him carefully into his team that has found good rhythm despite missing their primary center.
“Obviously we’re playing pretty good basketball. I think there’s a choice here where he could either be a disruption, because we’re playing good basketball, or he can be a bona fide extra weapon that takes us to a new level,” Cone explained.
“We’re going to bring him in slowly so he can get a rhythm. But we think that with the things we’re doing, he’s going to be highly successful.“
Ginebra will be clashing with Mahindra, which holds a similar 6-2 slate. – Rappler.com
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