by Waylon Galvez
Sydney, Australia — Ginebra San Miguel has settled on 7-foot Filipino-American Gregory Slaughter to be the No. 1 overall pick in Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft at the Robinsons Place in Ermita.
Slaughter was given a workout for several days by Ginebra, which owns the pick first, and the team was convinced that the former Ateneo star will be an asset to the Gin Kings who have not won a PBA championship since 2008.
“We’re going for Slaughter. He has the height, we like his attitude and he is a winner,” said Robert Non, the Ginebra team manager who is also head of basketball operations of San Miguel Corporation.
Slaughter was picked over two other desirable players in a banner rookie draft class replete with talented centers and outstanding guards and forwards fresh from recent collegiate wars.
Besides Slaughter, Ian Sangalang of San Sebastian College and Raymond Almazan of Letran were also considered by Ginebra.
Both would have been an ideal choice. Sangalang is 6-8 and Almazan is 6-7, but Slaughter had the better gravitas having led his college team to triumphs and also was a significant part of the NLEX team which won two championships in the PBA-D League where he also played center. He also played for Gilas Pilipinas for two years.
Not picked first means either Sangalang or Almazan will go second or third.
San Mig Coffeee, which just won the Governors’ Cup will pick second while Rain or Shine will pick third.
The PBA draft has not seen quite a class like this.
Besides the likely top three picks, also entered in the draft are Far Eastern University stars Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia, Arellano University’s James Forrester and University of Santo Tomas’ Jeric Teng.
Romeo is the reigning UAAP MVP while Teng could have been UAAP championship series MVP had UST won the title.
The fourth and sixth picks are owned by Barako Bull and this opportunity will give the team a chance to start its rebuilding process.