PBA: Tim Cone expects Greg Slaughter to return to Ginebra soon

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2020 02:45 PM

Ginebra's Greg Slaughter during the team's victory party after the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- Greg Slaughter will not be joining Barangay Ginebra in the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga, but his return to the team is imminent.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone said on "Power and Play" on Saturday that he "fully expects" Slaughter to be back with the Gin Kings by the next PBA conference, whenever that will take place.

"I think they'll work it out," Cone told former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. "I'm excited to have him back."

Slaughter, who has played for Ginebra since entering the league in 2013, announced in February that he will take a sabbatical from basketball -- a move that came barely a month after the Gin Kings won the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup title. 

He spent the past few months training in the United States and signed with the agency BeoBasket, which also represents Denver All-Star Nikola Jokic, among other high-profile players. Slaughter returned to the Philippines earlier this month, and has gotten in contact with Ginebra brass to discuss his status with the team.

Cone is confident that those talks went smoothly, so much that he even tried to get Slaughter to be part of their team for the PBA Philippine Cup.

"I know that he talked to our team manager," Cone said of Slaughter. "They cleared the air on some issues. I think they ironed out some issues and I think there's gonna be more talks along the way."

"I tried hard to get him into this bubble, but he just had too many things going on that he couldn't make it in time to get here," he explained. "He needed to get here a couple of weeks before to really talk to management, settle things, get a contract then go in with us."

"But he just couldn't get here in time," said Cone, who admitted that he "desperately" wanted for Slaughter to be part of their line-up for the All-Filipino Cup.

Even if Slaughter has worked out all issues with Ginebra and has signed a new contract, it is still not possible for him to join the Gin Kings in Clark. This, as he is not included in the team's 25-man roster that entered the bubble in late September. 

"You're locked into the 25 guys you have," said Cone.

Whenever the next conference starts, however, Cone is certain that Slaughter will be wearing the Ginebra jersey again.

"He had a lot of personal things going on, but I think he's ready. He said he's ready to play again, and I think we'll see him next conference. I'm very confident of that and I'm excited to have him back," the coach said.

Slaughter, the 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year, is a four-time champion with Ginebra and a five-time All-Star. He was the Best Player of the Conference in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup.