At this point, it’s safe to say that everything in the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team is revolving around Greg Slaughter.
National team head coach Yeng Guiao revealed that the 12-man lineup that will face Iran in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers this Thursday will be built depending on the status of the 7-foot Barangay Ginebra San Miguel slotman.
Slaughter is still in pain due to an ankle injury he sustained in a PBA Governors’ Cup game last Wednesday, and since then, the 30-year-old hasn’t been able to participate in the Nationals’ practices – he’s reduced to being a spectator only.
“We’re waiting for him to practice kaya himdi kami makadesisyon,” said Guiao Monday afternoon.
“‘Pag nakita ko yung kondisyon niya sa first practice niya made-decide kung pwede siyang gamitin or hindi. Then we will make the lineup.”
Should worse come to worst and Slaughter will not be able to take part in their practices in Iran – the Filipino dribblers are set to fly out on Monday night to Tehran – then he won’t be part of the 12-man roster anymore.
“Our first practice in Iran is afternoon or evening of Tuesday – Tuesday doon ha, ‘di ko alam kung anong oras dito. So if he cannot make practice on Tuesday, that means hindi na siya pwede,” said the veteran bench strategist.
“Hindi naman pwedeng mag-practice lang siya ng isang araw tapos maglalaro na.”
But regardless, Guiao likes the progress he has been seeing from the flag-bearers, considering that they are more pressed for time this time around compared to the leeway they had back in the 2018 Asian Games.
“We’re about eighty, eighty-five percent,” he said. “The next two days we are putting in place our defensive schemes. A little bit today then tomorrow, hen on Wednesday before the Thursday game. So mga eighty-five percent na siguro.”