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PBA: Ginebra’s Slaughter making steady progress

By Jerome Lagunzad

Ginebra assistant coach Richard Del Rosario is relishing his bigger role as the Gin Kings’ caretaker for the meantime, with two-time Grand Slam tactician Tim Cone still in the midst of his annual scouting trip in the United States.

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And everything’s practically going fine for crowd favorite Ginebra ahead of its title-retention bid in the 2017 PBA Governors Cup starting against top contender Meralco in a much-awaited finals rematch on July 23 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

“Everything’s smooth sailing naman. ‘Yung mga players kasi very cooperative,” he admitted yesterday ahead of the Gin Kings’ tuneup match against the Alaska Aces at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.

“Kahit wala si coach Tim, ‘yung culture na na-establish niya remains. It’s not based on individual leadership. ‘Yung team mismo ang nagli-lead sa team. And that’s what he’s been emphasizing since Day One.”

After ending an eight-year title drought at the expense of the Bolts last year, the Gin Kings should remain a genuine force to reckon with owing to its bridesmaid finish in the Philippine Cup and a semifinal appearance in the Commissioner’s Cup this season.

Expectations should only get higher since Ginebra will welcome 7-foot center Greg Slaughter back in the fold after being sidelined for at least 10 months following a successful surgery on a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee.

“Our main concern is to get Greg back in rhythm. We have same players and same import except for Greg. Siya ‘yung biggest change sa lineup kaya siya rin ‘yung pinakamalaking adjustment na gagawin namin,” he said.

So far, the former top overall pick – 2013 – draft is making steady progress.

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