Greg Slaughter gets 'reminder' on PH basketball in MPBL debut

Greg Slaughter played Philippine basketball again after two years, and he was reminded of what he missed. LA Arcin
By Ivan Saldajeno

BINAN--Greg Slaughter finally invaded the MPBL on Friday night when Manila started him for its road game against Binan at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

While Slaughter had solid numbers of 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in barely 25 minutes of action, the seven-foot giant believes he was given a glimpse of what he missed for two years.

"It was fun. It's good to be back home. A nice reminder of the Philippine brand of basketball," Slaughter told Dugout Philippines after the Stars handed the Tatak Gel their first loss of the season.

The Cebuano beanpole took his talents to Japan B.League in 2022 and suited up for Fukuoka in the league's second division for two seasons before signing with Manila in the MPBL.

One thing he was reminded about was dealing with how the referees would allow a certain level of physicality.

"They're pretty strict on the foul-calling in Japan. Here, they kinda let things go, but you just got to adapt. And this isn't anything new to me," added Slaughter, who returned home in 2007 from Fredericksburg, Virginia to pursue a basketball career, beginning with the University of the Visayas in CESAFI.

The need to get used to the Filipinos' physical style of play again was evident as the Tatak Gel's swarming defense forced him to five turnovers.

The good thing for Slaughter is that the transition in general became smoother because he returned to Philippine basketball through the country's premier regional league whose format is similar to the B.League.

"Just playing on your homecourt or the away court, it's cool, and it's just really fun to go around and see different parts of the Philippines," added Slaughter, whose pro career began when he was selected first overall by the PBA's perennial crowd darlings, Ginebra, in 2013.

This time, though, he had to play the Grinch as he helped silence a good-sized crowd cheering for Binan as Manila handed them their first loss of the season, ending a 6-0 start.

With the Tatak Gel's defense focusing on Slaughter, the Stars had to mainly rely on the hot hands of Carl Cruz and Jan Jamon within the final 6:39 of the game to pull away from their gritty opponents.

"It was a tough task. We knew that they were a hard team. Just thankful we came out with a win. I think we got to catch them by surprise today when we're coming in," Slaughter continued.

While he said it is fun to go around other parts of the Philippines, the Stars' next four confirmed games are not that far from Manila.

The Stars will next play the Rizal Golden Coolers on Thursday night at the WES Arena in Valenzuela.

Manila will then return to the Alonte Sports Arena here to take on Quezon City on June 6 and then face Imus the week after at the Caloocan Sports Complex before hosting Iloilo on June 19 at the San Andres Sports Complex in the capital city.

The first chance for fans outside Mega Manila to see Slaughter in action for the Stars is when they take on the Pasay Voyagers on June 24 at the Batangas City Coliseum.

"It's a long season, so I'm excited to see how our team grows," Slaughter added.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno