MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is hoping that center Greg Slaughter will return at some point in the season, after the big man announced that he will be taking a sabbatical from the sport.
Slaughter shocked Ginebra fans when he revealed in early February that he will take a break from basketball, upon the expiration of his contract with the team.
During PBA's Media Day at Okada Manila on Thursday, Cone said that Slaughter told him of his decision during their exit meeting, which came just two days after the Gin Kings won the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.
"He talked to me during the exit meeting… This was two days, literally two days after the championship," Cone said.
"When I walked to the room with Greg, the first thing he said, 'I'm gonna take a break.' I was like, 'Oh, okay.' That was our conversation. So we didn't get anything else done but that conversation," he added.
At the time of their discussion, Slaughter mentioned taking a break for "three or four months," said Cone.
"He's pretty adamant about his decision. He wants to take a break. I think it's more of a mental break than anything, and perhaps get himself right," the coach added.
"But I do believe he'll be back, I'm just not sure when. We're hoping anytime, we're hoping anytime soon," he also said. "Hopefully he'll be back by the second conference. But we shall see."
Cone believes that Slaughter took a break to take care of his mental health, pointing out that the player "wasn't treated well on the internet." That, the coach added, weighed heavily on Slaughter and his family.
As much as losing Slaughter will hurt the Gin Kings, Cone said he supports his player's decision and believes they can still compete without him. Moreover, Slaughter's absence may even work to their advantage in the long run, especially if he returns a better player.
"I don't think he's out forever," Cone said of Slaughter. "I don't think he's retiring."
"Maybe in the long run, it will work out better for us. That's what we're gonna hope," he added.
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