Mendoza: Impact of Slaughter’s return

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

The saying, “All’s well that ends well,” is recalled again in the Greg Slaughter case.

Slaughter, Barangay Ginebra’s cornerstone, did almost the unforgivable by bolting his team unannounced last year.

Was it in anger that Slaughter vanished amid reports he was being shipped to another team?

He flew to the US in February 2020, leaving Ginebra management in the dark as to his career path after his contract expired.

Other officials would have responded violently. Tooth for a tooth. Eye for an eye. Fight to the death.

But no. Credit Ginebra’s fortitude, broad perspective and a calm heart to the happy ending. Head over heart. Mind over matter. Reason over emotion.

After all, Slaughter, not exactly a child of woe, has been a Gin King since he was Ginebra’s first overall pick in 2013. His being with the team for eight years has made him family already—literally.

If San Miguel Corp. sports director, my tocayo Al Chua, played a key role in Slaughter’s return, I won’t be surprised at all. My tocayo has been known all this time as SMC’s Henry Kissinger: a diplomat non pareil. Even Ginebra coach Tim Cone was in praise of the handling of the Slaughter deal.

“We’re happy to have him (Slaughter) back,” said Cone, the PBA’s only two-time Grand Slam coach. “He gives us a huge presence in the paint.”

But of course. With his ceiling of 2.13 meters (almost 7 feet), Slaughter is the only one who can seriously challenge the 6-foot-10, six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer (SMB).

Surely, SMB, elated by Fajardo’s return from a one-year absence due to a leg injury, is aching to recapture its Philippine Cup crown that Ginebra had snatched in the Clark bubble last year.

It won’t be easy.

Slaughter, the 32-year-old Cleveland, Ohio-born Fil-Am, will team up with the massively improved Japeth Aguilar in their title defense when the league opens on April 9.

At 6-foot-9, Aguilar is sure to resurrect his “Twin Towers” partnership with Slaughter, all the more ensuring intense sister-act rivalry after SMB beefed up its lineup with the acquisition of the versatile CJ Perez. Add the return of playmaker Terrence Romeo.

It’s getting to be interesting.