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Greg Slaughter to miss Gilas training in New Zealand, but honored to be part of national pool

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Greg Slaughter to miss Gilas training in New Zealand, but honored to be part of national pool

Post by ramieljosh18 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:05 am

Sports5/Paul Mata
After missing the Philippine national men’s basketball team’s training tour in Lithuania, 7-foot center Greg Slaughter will once again miss the squad’s trip to New Zealand because he will be attending class in Ateneo.

But for the only amateur player in the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national pool from which the final lineup for the FIBA Asia Championship will be selected, being part of the program is already a huge deal.

“It’s a big honor for me personally. To be included in this pool as an amateur really means something for me. It’s also a very good experience for me,” said Slaughter, who plans to turn pro in November.

“Coming into the PBA, you could see the cream of the crop here on this team. It’s a real big honor for me not only to be playing with these professionals, but also the possibility of playing for the country.”

Slaughter has been attending national team practices in Manila religiously, getting to bang bodies with this year’s top overall pick June Mar Fajardo in practice. The two men began their Philippine basketball careers as rivals in Cebu, and Slaughter hopes to follow in Fajardo’s footsteps in the pros.

“June Mar is a very talented player, playing alongside him is really good for me. We did have our games in Cebu. It’s not personal. We’re just competing. We’re competitors and we both want to win. I was just happy that we just went up against each other, but we don’t have any grudges. Now, I’m happier because what we’re doing together is for the country,” said Slaughter.

A member of the original Gilas squad under Rajko Toroman, Slaughter knows how special it is to have the Philippines hosting the FIBA Asia Championship.

“It is a special feeling for me because when we were abroad, all those fans supporting us, they could only send their prayers. Now that we’re playing in Manila, we want to reward those fans and show them some great games. I know they will be there to support us,” said Slaughter.

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