As soon as the PBA opened its 40th season, big men like Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter quickly made a statement that the league is still a big man’s game.
The two frontliners let their game do the talking.
Aguilar, the 6-foot-9, high-leaping forward, had monster stats of 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. Slaughter, the seven-foot center, contributed 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.
“Yeah, absolutely. Our vets take it upon themselves to come up every game. I’m taking that challenge and I’m gonna show up every game, do what I can to help the team,” Slaughter told Tiebreaker Times in an exclusive interview.
Last season, big men like Slaughter, veteran Asi Taulava and June Mar Fajardo showed the way and dominated the league. Slaughter went on to win the Rookie of the Year award, Taulava cracked the Mythical Team and won the Comeback Player of the Year award and Fajardo was the hands down choice for the Most Valuable Player award.
The performance displayed by Aguilar and Slaughter is just an indication that big men are still out to rule the hardcourt.Taulava takes it as a challenge, not just to keep pace with the younger, taller counterparts, but as well as keeping the fort for the frontliners in the league.
“I’m trying to stay around having the same weight. I know I’m going to have my hands full with those two young guys,” Taulava said, referring to his much-awaited battles with Slaughter and Fajardo.
According to Taulava, seeing him matching up against the big guys is definitely fun to watch, but he’s still trying to make a case against teams which don’t have a legitimate big men to match up against them.
“If you don’t have any bigs, good luck,” he added. “Size will definitely take advantage against smaller teams.”