Tim Cone only hopes for Greg Slaughter when Ginebra faces San Miguel
Even for the league's winningest coach, beating the San Miguel Beermen in the forthcoming PBA Commissioner's Cup is still a puzzle he has been trying to solve since the beginning of the semifinals of the Philippine where the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings bowed to the Beermen in just 5 games. Even for a coach of Tim Cone's caliber, dethroning the defending champions seems almost an impossible task to accomplish.
But then again, they stopped the Beermen's Grand Slam aspiration during the quarterfinals of last season's Governors' Cup.
So what worked for Ginebra back then?
The answer is simple: Greg Slaughter.
Greg Slaughter is the only PBA player and non-San Miguel player who can stand toe-to-toe against the Kraken, June Mar Fajardo. And Greg Slaughter's absence worked towards the Beermen's favor during the semifinals of the All-Filipino conference as Fajardo bullied his way through Ginebra's defense. To cut it short, the absence of GregZilla made it easier for Fajardo to dominate.
A Tougher SMB Team
While the rest of the PBA has been finding a hard time defending the Beermen with June Mar Fajardo playing almost like an import minus the dunks, even Tim Cone has already acknowledged one simple fact: the arrival of Christian Standhardinger will make SMB a more powerful squad, at least on paper.
But more than anything else, Tim Cone remains hopeful that Ginebra can match-up against San Miguel with or without Greg Slaughter but also added that the Beermen's cohesion as a unit is what makes them a much tougher team to play against because even if you put together 5 of the best players in the league in one unit, if that team won't play as a team, they will fail against the Beermen.
Frankly, you can almost say that it's impossible to beat San Miguel in a full 7-game series.
While there's no telling as to when Greg Slaughter will return to the Gin Kings and while there's no denying the fact that San Miguel is favored to repeat as Commissioner's Cup champions, it will all go down to adjustments: the Beermen's adjustments with Christian Standhardinger on board and, Ginebra's adjustments with or without Greg Slaughter.