Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Director for Operations Butch Antonio said that Gilas Pilipinas will welcome Greg Slaughter back with open arms if the 7-foot slotman plans to return.
This comes after recent reports that Slaughter is eyeing a spot in the Philippine team for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the country will co-host with neighbors Japan and Indonesia.
“Of course. He’s qualified already to play for our team,” he said in the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association Forum on Tuesday, where he served as guest along with SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios.
Slaughter himself is a pioneer of the Gilas program. Back then, the team consisted of top collegiate and amateur players in the country, with former Olympian mentor Rajko Toroman as coach.
The Cebuano center was also part of the Sinag Pilipinas crew that swept the competition in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia to give the Philippines its 14th gold medal in the biennial meet.
It would take seven years, though, before Slaughter donned the national tri-colors again. He was part of the crew that played Kazakhstan in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers’ fifth window in December 2018.
It wasn’t the return he wanted, though. The Filipino dribblers suffered defeats — Gilas actually lost both games of the window, endangering its World Cup chances — but he would get redemption a year later.
Slaughter was part of the PBA-backed Gilas squad mentored by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone that dominated the 30th SEA Games in Manila to hike the country’s SEAG men’s cage gold to 18.
The 32-year-old can play a leadership role in this current pool, which is a mix of the best amateurs and young yet seasoned internationalists from the PBA, Still, Antonio said it will all depend on the coaches if he will be invited.
“Nasa mga coach na lang ‘yan if he’ll be invited to be part of the pool,” he said in the Forum powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, PAGCOR, Amelie Hotel, and Braska Restaurant.
Slaughter has been in the US since his announcement last February that he will take a break “to be able to work on myself on all aspects” following the expiration of his contract with Ginebra.
But according to reports, Slaughter, the first overall pick in the 2013 PBA Draft by the Barangay, said that he is open to returning to the league’s most popular team in the future.