More than just lighting up the scoreboard in their last 2 victories, Barangay Ginebra slotman Greg Slaughter believes that the Kings are playing solid defense that easily underscored their readiness for the playoffs in the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Kings clobbered league-leader Meralco Bolts, 103-90 on Wednesday to seal a spot in the best-of-3 quarterfinal series and end the single-round eliminations with a 7-4 card for joint 3rd spot with Rain or Shine. Ginebra smashed San Miguel prior to that, 110-84.
“We’re happy with how we’re playing heading into the playoffs and we had a really great defensive effort,” Slaughter said after leading Ginebra with 21 points on a hot 7-of-9 shooting from the floor.
More importantly, the 6-foot-11 Ginebra big man led the Kings on the defensive after containing Meralco’s wide-bodied reinforcement Arinze Onuaku.
Onuaku, who weighs over 270 pounds, was held down to a PBA conference-low 10 points on just 8 attempts.
“It was tough (defending Onuaku), but I gotta give it to my teammates for being there and just helping me execute our game plan and our defense on him,” shared the former PBA Rookie of the Year.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone commended Slaughter for following their defensive scheme against the former Syracuse Orangeman to the letter.
“He did a good job all game long, but his teammates helped him,” said Cone. “Still it started from Greg. And if you look at his numbers after the game, he put up really nice numbers though the bottomline is he followed our schemes and defended extremely well,” added the multi-titled PBA coach.
Slaughter admitted he’s determined to help Ginebra live up to its potentials since the Kings reached the semifinals only once during his 1st conference in the PBA in the 2014 Philippine Cup.
“My 1st conference, I got that taste of the semifinals and after that, I kinda thought it would be a regular thing but here we are 8 conferences later,” he said.
“But we can’t really assume we’ll be there because we still have to play in the best-of-3.”
While the loss hardly mattered for Meralco since it is already assured of a top 2 spot, the win gave Ginebra a slim chance of salvaging the no. 2 spot and a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
And that will happen if Tropang TNT (6-4) prevails over powerhouse San Miguel Beer (7-3) and NLEX (5-5) beats Alaska (6-4) in the final elimination round playdate this Friday. – By Richard Dy
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