Much has been expected from June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter–two big men who, with their height, can easily dominate the PBA.
But “The Kraken”, now a three-time PBA MVP and a five-time PBA champion, turned out to be the more successful between the two giants as “Gregzilla” had to battle injuries in his career.
But for Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone, it will only be a matter of time before Slaughter gets to the level of Fajardo.
“We tend to forget how good he is, how massive he is and how hard it is for him to be defended,” Cone told sportswriters, recalling the first time he handled Slaughter in 2015.
“He was leading the league in scoring and rebounding that conference. He was dominating that conference, my first conference with the team. We were still learning the triangle and I think we finished No. 1 or No. 2, but we were kinda upset in a one game knockout. We were playing well that conference and Greg was playing really well, but we lost him.
“We lost him due to his injury on his ankle or his bone spurs, so we lost him for three months. Then he came back, played a game and we lost him to an ACL (injury). He was leading the league in scoring and rebounding and he was showing his domination.”
Now back from an ACL injury after a year, Slaughter is slowly but surely flexing his muscles for Barangay Ginebra. Despite his center’s long layoff, Cone still sees Slaughter being able to do what Fajardo has done for San Miguel.
“He’s kinda like June Mar in terms of his ability to control the paint defensively. He changes kinda the way we play defense. Offensively, you can count on him all the time like grabbing offensive rebounds, getting him in the post or a seal. That collapses the defense and opens up things in the perimeter,” Cone said.
“That’s why we were having a hard time guarding a (Marcio) Lassiter, a (Alex) Cabagnot or an Arwind Santos. Greg is not at June Mar’s level yet, but I think he will be at some point. He’s not at that level yet because of an injury. He’s doing the same things that June Mar does for San Miguel.”
Cone is hoping Slaughter will soon emulate Fajardo’s success.
“It really depends on the team’s success. June Mar gets a lot of MVPs because his team does well. If they’re playing badly or placing third, fourth or fifth, he might not get them. The point I’m making about Greg, he’s not yet at the consistency level of June Mar. He has just played three games, but he supplies similar things that Fajardo does for San Miguel because he draws so much attention,” Cone said.
“As he goes along, he’ll draw more attention. We’ve got Greg and how well LA (Tenorio) has been playing right now, how well has Scottie (Thompson) played right now. Scottie has been dribbling the ball down and Greg setting the screen and Scottie was able to get to the basket. Hopefully, these things would go along. And, if we start winning championships, hopefully Greg will get the MVPs.”