MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone expects Greg Slaughter to reach greater heights now that he is NorthPort, where he can be the focal point of the squad.
The Gin Kings shipped Slaughter to the Batang Pier last week in exchange for Christian Standhardinger, as the two squads swapped former top overall picks. For Slaughter, it marked the official end of his six-year stint with Ginebra, after taking a leave of absence from the team in February 2020.
While he is excited to welcome Standhardinger into the fold, Cone also expects Ginebra to miss Slaughter even as he also admits that they were never quite able to maximize the 7-footer's talents.
"We kinda pigeon-holed Greg because of our system, and what we wanted from him, and we didn't really give him the freedom that he really wanted," said Cone, after the PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Sunday.
Slaughter will get that freedom in NorthPort, where head coach Pido Jarencio has already promised to play him major minutes -- at least 30 minutes per game. It's a mark he didn't reach in his last full season with Ginebra, where he shared frontcourt duties with Japeth Aguilar.
Thus, Cone believes that in NorthPort, Slaughter will be able to show off the full scale of his talents -- including the improvements he made over the past year when he mostly worked out in the United States while skipping the PBA season.
"(If) you give him that freedom, I think he's gonna just put up tremendous numbers, and he's gonna look really good," Cone said of the 32-year-old Slaughter. "He's gonna have an opportunity he's never had in his career."
"In many ways, this could be a really good thing for Greg," he added. "I think he's primed for a huge breakout."
It's "sayang," said Cone, that this breakout will not happen with Ginebra, the team that drafted Slaughter first overall in 2013. Nonetheless, he is grateful to the center for his contributions to the Gin Kings, including four championships.
"I just don't want to also make light of Greg and what he brought to us. He brought some serious basketball to us, and we won championships with him," said Cone.
Slaughter was also the Best Player of the Conference in the 2017 Governors' Cup, and made five All-Star teams with Ginebra. In his farewell message to the team, posted on his Instagram, the center said he was "truly excited" to join the Batang Pier.
"I still have my best basketball ahead of me. I have so much left to give the game," he vowed.