Greg Slaughter Monster Performance proved that he's worthy of the BPC award
This giant from Cebu is the primary reason why Ginebra is one win away from the title. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Sure, Justin Brownlee had another all-around performance with 20 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals plus a block.
Sure, Lewis Alfred Tenorio came alive after being held scoreless in Game 4 and scored 17 points in Game 5.
But if there's one specific player in Tim Cone's rotation who stood up the tallest, both literally and figuratively, it's their 7 footer center, Greg Slaughter.
As mentioned by this basketball pundit on wheels during the first few games of this exciting best-of-7 Finals rematch, the success of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings will depend on how Greg Slaughter plays. Why? He wasn't around when both the Gin Kings and the Meralco Bolts met each other in last year's PBA Governors' Cup Finals, a series which was won by Ginebra in 6 games, on Brownlee's heart slashing three-pointer at the buzzer.
Just a few hours after receiving his Best Player of the Conference award right before tip-off of Game 4, Greg Slaughter for 19 minutes, scored 6 points, missed 3 of his 5 shot attempts, only grabbed 5 rebounds and failed to block even a single shot. That's not how one supposed to play after being named as the Best Player of the Conference. Absolutely unacceptable especially after Ginebra dropped a close 85-83 defeat at the hands of the Bolts.
Game 5 at the Philippine Arena came along last night. And came with it was Greg Slaughter's dominant self. How dominant was Gregzilla last night? Below are his numbers:
17 Points: A Proof of Offensive Strength
In the first 4 games of the series, Greg Slaughter was only averaging 8 points per games with 14 points in the series opener being his highest point production. Then came along Game 5. Slaughter played for 33 minutes and just literally slaughtered the smaller Bolts with his 17 points even though he only made 5 of his 19 attempts. He made that up by making 7 of his 9 attempts from the free throw line. If Greg Slaughter is scoring this high again come Game 6 on Wednesday, it should be more than enough to help the defending champions to clinch their second consecutive Governors' Cup title.
16 Rebounds: A Show of Height Advantage
One of the many advantages Ginebra is holding against the Bolts is their sheer height advantage and Greg Slaughter made sure that Meralco wished they had taller guys. In last night's victory, the gentle giant from Cebu grabbed 16 rebounds, 5 of them came from the offensive end. Those 5 offensive boards, part of the 19 offensive rebounds that Ginebra had in the entire game, played a crucial role as the Gin Kings were able to score 23 points from those offensive rebounds. See? Height is might indeed especially if you know how to utilize that advantage.
6 Blocks: A Clear Sign of Defensive Might
In case you've still been wondering why Meralco opted to shoot from outside despite the fact that their shooters weren't hitting the target during the entire series, it goes back to their height disadvantage as every time Allen Durham and company were trying to attack the paint, the giants of Ginebra were there to challenge and block the former's way to the basket. As a result of that, the Gin Kings had 9 blocks at the end of Game 5, 6 of those came from Greg Slaughter.
Now how do you avoid being blocked by Greg Slaughter? The painful answer to that is, you don't. You just work around it unless you can create unblockable shots like you're Kobe Bryant or Allen Iverson. If Meralco wants to score, they should shoot as if they are Ray Allen, Stephen Curry or even Klay Thompson who can shoot and make threes even in their sleep. They can always try to attack but we all know that hasn't worked for them, right? Not if the gentle giant, Gregzilla is standing right in the middle, waiting for you to take your next move.
Le's this simple, folks. Should Greg Slaughter dominate again in Game 6, then the championship is for Ginebra all to take come Wednesday. Why? Simple: The Bolts have no one tall enough to challenge Slaughter and prevent him from slaughtering them anew. The least Norman Black's boys can do is to put him in difficult situations. Do that and we might have a Game 7, at the Philippine Arena. Might.