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PBA: Slaughter, Romeo set pace

by Waylon Galvez

Manila, Philippines – The PBA’s 39th season is only on its early stage, but two freshmen are already laying claim to the Rookie of the Year award.

Based on their per game averages in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup, Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Terrence Romeo of Globalport are in the forefront of newcomers’ derby.

The 6-foot-11 Slaughter, the No. 1 overall pick in the Rookie Draft, is averaging 13.8 points and 11.2 rebounds – No. 3 this conference – for the Kings with 1.8 shot blocks (4th). He is one of three players to average double-double points/rebounds, joining Petron Blaze sophomore June Mar Fajardo and Globalport’s Anthony Jay Washington.

“I’m happy that I’ve had a good start so far in my career,” said the 25-year-old Slaughter, who has helped crowd-favorite Ginebra to a 5-1 card behind unbeaten Petron (7-0).

“But I want to keep improving. I know the season is still really young so I haven’t put any thought into the award. I’ve always had a mindset of team success first and individual accolades after,” added Slaughter.

On the other hand, Romeo, selected No. 5 overall by the Batang Pier, is averaging 16.6 points through seven games as they opened with a 4-3 card. The 5-foot-11 Romeo’s scoring output ranks fifth in the league – the only rookie in the Top 10.

Romeo is also averaging 2.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

“Sa akin naman po basta makatulong sa team, kahit ano gagawin ko. Kung kailangan umiskor or rebound or assist. Saka ‘yung award dadating naman ‘yan kung para sa’yo talaga. Pero masaya na nakakatulong ako sa team,” said Romeo.

Last year, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva – the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft – edged top pick Fajardo for the Rookie of the Year award.

This year’s second overall pick Ian Sangalang of San Mig Coffee, a former teammate of Abueva with the San Sebastian Stags in the NCAA, is also having a solid start with 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.

The same goes with Romeo’s Globalport teammate RR Garcia, who is averaging 10.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while Justine Chua, originally picked by San Mig, averages 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Raymond Almazan, the No. 3 overall pick of Rain or Shine, is averaging 3.5 points with 5.3 rebounds.