Photo by the PBA Media Bureau
Not that Slaughter nor Ginebra is planning to pull the trigger at the moment but, how will it benefit the Gin Kings? And how will it not?
Whether you like it or not, Greg Slaughter has been one of the reasons why the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings have been competitive during the last few conferences, most recently during last season's Governors' Cup when Ginebra won their second straight Governors' Cup championship against the Meralco Bolts. That was the same conference when Greg Slaughter won the Best Player of the Conference award.
Then, injuries started to hit the half of Ginebra's Twin Towers which in turn, have visibly dwindled down Ginebra's chances of competing for a championship during the Philippine Cup, most especially in the semifinals when they were beaten down by a June Mar Fajardo-led San Miguel Beermen who finished that series in 5 games. One of the reasons why Ginebra lost that series is that nobody could stand toe-to-toe against the Kraken and the only one who could do it in terms of height and strength is none other than Greg Slaughter.
But then, you have to remember that Ginebra won the 2016 Governors' Cup championship WITHOUT Greg Slaughter.
The question now is this: given Slaughter's injury problems, is it time for Ginebra to consider trading him?
There are two ways to answer that question:
- Yes. To begin with, Ginebra actually beat San Miguel back in the elimination phase of the recently-concluded Philippine Cup WITHOUT him and even made the playoffs. If you're Ginebra, would you rather keep a gentle giant who is injured just because he is the only one who is tall enough to counter Fajardo? Or you would trade him and let guys like Raymond Aguilar and Prince Caperal develop furthermore? Mind you, LA Tenorio is almost at the climax of his decorated career so trading Slaughter possibly for draft picks will allow the Gin Kings to get younger.
- Yes. But, trading away Greg Slaughter will take away your chance against Fajardo and company because as mentioned above, Greg Slaughter is the only one in the PBA who could possibly guard June Mar Fajardo. Just imagine if he was healthy during the Philippine Cup, that semifinal series between Ginebra and San Miguel would have gone the distance.
While Greg Slaughter said in 2015 that he won't ask for a trade given the fact that he had fewer touches of the ball under Coach Ato Agustin, Ginebra should really take a deep look at their options right now. There's no clear timetable as of now as to when Slaughter will be ready to play in the Commissioner's Cup and the fact that Slaughter isn't rushing his return either. If you're Ginebra, trading Greg Slaughter is definitely a BIG GAMBLE one way or another but, are you willing to take the gamble if the end result is a better future for your team?
At the end of the day, Greg Slaughter is still Greg Slaughter- the Gin Kings' answer to June Mar Fajardo- THAT if the former is healthy.