Support Gilas instead, says PBA rookie
MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra’s prized center Greg Slaughter defended his decision to withdraw from the Gilas Pilipinas pool after getting negative feedback from some local basketball fans following his pullout.
Slaughter stressed that it was his personal decision to decline the chance to play for the national team, contrary to speculations that he might have been pressured by the San Miguel Corp. management to pull out from the training pool.
"While I have received a lot of supportive feedback, I am saddened to see how hateful some of my fellow countrymen have reacted to my decision while continuously expressing their hate even as going as far as continuously expressing their hate online directly towards me or indirectly," said Slaughter in a series of Twitter posts.
The 6'11" PBA rookie maintained that he and Marcio Lassiter felt that that the Gilas lineup that won second place in the recent FIBA Asia Championship are more deserving to represent the Philippines in the FIBA Basketball world Cup.
That roster is composed of Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jeffrei Chan, Jayson Castro, Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Larry Fonacier, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris and naturalized citizen Marcus Douthit.
Slaughter announced his decision to withdraw from the pool during a hastily called press conference on Friday. Lassiter followed suit after the San Miguel Beer-Meralco game.
"For all the bashers: please remember Marcio and I have proudly served the national team for four years straight. I even did everything I could in practice to help Gilas prepare for the World championship qualifier last August," said the former Ateneo player.
"I see no one more deserving than the 12 to go to Spain and play in this possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," added Slaughter.
Slaughter named sports journalist Ronnie Nathanielsz as among those who criticized their decision.
Nathanieslz aired his disapproval online while alluding that the San Miguel Corp. may have something to do with the decision of Slaughter and Lassiter to thumb down the chance to join Gilas.
"@coachot It seems that Lasssiter and Slaughter don't have a FILIPINO HEART. Their excuses were BS. Suspicious that both are from SMC," said the veteran broadcaster through Twitter.
"Hope no players in the Gilas Pool are forced to pull out because of management pressure like the last time.We need to send our best team," added Nathanielsz.
Slaughter said that instead of bashing their decision, the country should invest their energy into supporting the national team.
The 24-year old Filipino-American added he still would be willing to join Gilas in future tournaments.
"The last thing I wanted was distractions to our national team. Instead of wasting our energy and being negative, we should use our energy to show support to the 12 and @coachot who has brought glory to our country by qualifying for the world championships after 50 years… God willing I will play for the national team again as I have always been honored for the opportunity to represent the country I have called my home for the past 7 years," said Slaughter.