by Jonas Terrado
Manila, Philippines – Greg Slaughter has already won five collegiate championships, including two with Ateneo in the UAAP, but his appetite for winning has never wavered.
After being selected by crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra as the top overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft, Slaughter immediately made known his desire of winning a championship in the pro league.
Toughened by his stint with Gilas Pilipinas, the 7-foot Slaughter is hoping that he can help shore up Ginebra’s frontline rotation to complement the versatility of the team’s backcourt crew led by LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa.
With Slaughter and the 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar, Ginebra will have its own version of “Twin Tower”.
Ginebra is hoping to win its first title since the 2008 Fiesta Conference.
“That is my goal, to win a championship and I will do my best to bring what the team needs,” said Slaughter.
Slaughter will not only bring his height to the league’s most popular ballclub but also his competitive desire to win titles.
He proved that in college, helping University of the Visayas complete a nine-peat with three championships from 2007-2009 before taking his talents to Ateneo where he was a key figure in Ateneo’s UAAP five-peat with wins in 2011 and 2012.
Carrying impressive credentials, Slaughter hopes to carry that to the pro ranks but he will have to deal with a more physical game compared to the amateur ranks. That is why he took a month of rigid training in his hometown of Virginia in the US to prepare for the big league.
“I just have to learn the ropes of playing in the PBA and then we will go from there,” said Slaughter.
While there’s pressure to deliver for the club, Slaughter said he would rather concentrate on improving his game as he intends to help Ginebra’s end its title drought.
Ginebra advanced to the finals in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup but were swept by Alaska in the best-of-five finals.
“I’m not too worried about the pressure but I just want to keep my head up, work hard and keep on learning the best way that I can,” he said.
Slaughter was the third Atenean to be chosen as the top overall pick, joining Rich Alvarez (2004) and Nonoy Baclao (2010).
It was a red-letter day for Ateneo hopefuls as Slaughter was joined by Ryan Buenafe and Justin Chua in the first round.
Buenafe, a former UAAP Finals Most Valuable Player, was taken by Alaska as the 8th overall pick while San Mig Coffee drafted Chua as the 10th and last selection in the first round.
More Eagles were later chosen with Nico Salva going to Globalport (1st pick second round, 11th overall), JP Erram (5th pick second round, 15th overall) and Chris Sumalinog (4th round) to Talk N’ Text.
“I’m very happy for them,” said Slaughter.