MANILA, Philippines – "Surreal." That was how Greg Slaughter felt after he was taken by the crowd favorites Barangay Ginebra Kings with the number one pick of the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft last Sunday.
The seven-footer was joined by his new teammates – including All-Star guards LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa – at the stage while thousands of fans at the Robinsons Place Manila chanted “Gi-Ne-Bra!”
“Surreal, that’s all I can say right now,” said Slaughter. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Slaughter, who helped the Ateneo Blue Eagles win two championships in the UAAP, was already feeling the love from the Ginebra fans and vowed not to let them down.
“Ginebra has the best support,” he said. “I definitely don’t want to let them down, so I’m gonna give my 110% for all the Ginebra fans.”
Slaughter and the rest of the 2013 rookie class will have to adjust quickly, as the next conference, the All-Filipino Cup, starts in a couple of weeks.
“I feel like we have a really good chance with this team right now,” he said.
Ginebra coach Ato Agustin was clearly satisfied with the team’s draft haul; aside from Slaughter, they also took former Arellano standout James Forrester with the fourth pick.
“These two rookies, maganda ‘yung nilalaro nila sa amateurs,” he said.
Team manager Alfrancis Chua, meanwhile, expects Slaughter to have an immediate impact on the team.
“Having a big guy, a 7-foot-1 guy, after what, 20 years? You’re gonna get a lot of point guards, a two-man (shooting guards), but a big guy in the Philippines, he’s gonna come after mga 20 years,” he said.
“I think he’s a big impact to the team. We’re younger, we got fresh legs. Ito ang matagal naming hinihintay, hindi ‘yung naghihintay lang kami ng import,” he added.
Aside from Slaughter and Forrester, Ginebra also picked big man John Usita in the fourth round, Alvin Padilla in the fifth round, and Jens Knuttel in the sixth round.