BIÑAN, Laguna -- Greg Slaughter made his presence felt in his return to Ginebra on Friday at the Alonte Sports Arena.
Although playing limited minutes, Slaughter contributed 12 points, six rebounds, and two assists in nearly 25 minutes in Ginebra's 105-91 shellacking of Blackwater in the 2018 Honda PBA Commissioner's Cup.
"I felt pretty good on my ankle, it's just a little discomfort sometimes. Definitely, I'm not in shape yet, I need to work on that in the coming weeks. There's still time to get in shape," Slaughter said.
Slaughter missed the Philippine Cup playoffs and the team's first two games this conference due to a severe ankle injury.
Kevin Ferrer, who had a team-high 21 points, said Slaughter didn't even need to carry the bulk of the scoring load to make an impact. Slaughter's towering presence made life easier for Ginebra's shooters.
"His arrival allowed us to get our rhythm from outside the arc. Defense swarms on him and it gave us enough space to knock down those three-pointers," Ferrer said.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone couldn't agree more.
"He's a difference-maker. Teams have to play us differently when he's playing. When he's on the floor, it opens up a lot for other people because he's a constant threat out there," Cone said. "It's his first game in a couple of months so he's not in a shape that he wants to be in yet. But as long as he doesn't have a recurrence, he's gonna get better and better and stronger and I think we'll get better along with him."
The seven-foot behemoth, though, insists there's much work to be done.
"Man, it feels great running out there with the guys, it was a lot of fun. But I gotta work in getting in shape. A few moments out there I was catching my breath a little too hard," he said. "It's just a lot of fun, it feels great to be back and I'm excited to build on this."
It will be up to Cone to determine how to manage Slaughter's minutes in the coming games. Slaughter is ready for whenever his number is called.
"Whatever it is that we're gonna need, everyone is ready to do it," he said. "After tasting the championships, I don't think anyone has individual things in mind. As a team, we just want to win championships."