MANILA, Philippines – After being forced to watch the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup Finals on the sidelines due to a knee injury, Ginebra center Greg Slaughter is raring to get going this year.
Since getting the go-signal to play in the 2017 Governors' Cup, Slaughter has been simply superb for Ginebra. The big man is averaging 14.69 points, 8.75 rebounds, and 1.63 blocks per game, and is in the running for Best Player of the Conference honors.
But it is the prospect of finally getting to play in the Finals – against the Meralco Bolts in a highly anticipated rematch – that truly lifts Slaughter's spirits.
"I'm really excited, not only just because I'm coming back, but also it's my first time (in the Finals) in the PBA," said Slaughter. "I'm just really excited."
The torn ACL in his right knee prevented Slaughter from playing not just in last season's Governors' Cup, but also in this season's Philippine Cup and Commissioner's Cup as well. The injury is not fully healed, but Slaughter is confident that it won't hamper him in the Finals.
"The knee is okay," he insists. "I'm still not 100%. I've said this conference that I know I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm excited."
"I think I can contribute a lot to this Finals, and hopefully, we'll just get better and better in the Finals," he added.
Incidentally, Slaughter will be up against a very familiar foe in the Finals. Norman Black, the coach of the Meralco Bolts, was his coach back when he played for Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP.
"You know, that just goes to show you what a great coach Coach Norman is," said Slaughter, who won two UAAP titles with Black as the star center of the Blue Eagles. "Everywhere he's gone, he is having a lot of success."
"I've learned a lot from him," he added. "Now, it will be interesting to go up against him."
But Slaughter is reluctant to say if his familiarity with Black will give him any real advantage in the Finals.
"We'll see," he said. "We'll see when it comes to play. But if he forced me baseline and double from the baseline then I see that things haven't changed much."
Game 1 of the Finals is on Friday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)