MANILA, Philippines – All signs point to Greg Slaughter missing the 2020 PBA All-Filipino Cup, with the big man not included in Barangay Ginebra's roster ahead of the league's 45th season.
Despite this, Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua is confident that the Gin Kings can still compete at a high level in the Philippine Cup.
"Okay pa rin ang Ginebra," he declared on Tuesday, during the league's press conference at the Conrad Manila.
Slaughter, the 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year, announced on February 8 that he intends to "take a break" from the sport, and expressed his gratitude to Ginebra. The sabbatical coincided with the expiration of Slaughter's contract with the team.
The center later clarified that he was never offered a contract extension by the Gin Kings, and that he was unaware of any proposed trades that included him. Chua, however, told reporters that it is a player's responsibility to inform management of their wish for a contract extension, and also denied that Slaughter was involved in potential trades.
The former Ateneo de Manila University slotman averaged 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for Ginebra last year.
Chua believes that the Gin Kings can live without Slaughter's contribution, pointing out that they have won a championship even without their former top overall pick.
"Alam mo, adjustments lang 'yan eh," he said. "You know, dati noong na-injure din siya, they won a championship without him."
"Tapos, nag-champion naman with him. Kaya nang dinedicate ko sa kanya 'yun, kasi nakatikim na siya ng champion," he added. "So I think Ginebra is ready because we won a championship with him and without him."
"So, naramdaman na pareho."
This, noted Chua, is the difference between Ginebra and San Miguel Beer, another team that is dealing with the loss of its big man.
June Mar Fajardo went down with a leg injury in early February, and was announced as out for the entirety of the Philippine Cup.
Chua pointed out that San Miguel is used to winning championships with Fajardo leading the way.
"Ang Ginebra kasi, parehong naramdaman eh. They've felt the presence of Greg, and they've felt na wala doon si Greg," he explained. The Gin Kings, thus, will know how to adjust.
Chua said it's up to San Miguel to make a similar adjustment.
"The coaches of San Miguel, I want to see what's the adjustment na gagawin nila na wala si June Mar. Sanay kumakain ng may kanin. Ngayon, nawalan sila ng kanin," he said. "Tingnan natin how they're gonna react, how they're gonna adjust."
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