Greg Slaughter waits for word from Barangay Ginebra, says he's willing to play for Gilas

Before choosing the next step in his professional career, Greg Slaughter wants to mull things over with Barangay Ginebra first.

The 32-year-old center said Saturday that he's waiting on a meeting with Gin Kings management first to explore his options, one which includes a possible return to the same franchise that drafted him to the PBA back in 2013.

"At the moment, I've been in contact with coach Tim (Cone). We're gonna have a meeting, but right now I'm just waiting on Ginebra to get back to me with a firm date. But I'm ready to go," Slaughter said Saturday on the Power & Play radio show with former commissioner Noli Eala.

Slaughter recently returned to the country eight months after announcing he'd take a step back from basketball last February. Before his return, he had been training in Florida and had signed with top European agency BeoBasket, whose clients include Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic and Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic, among others.

A number of international teams have also expressed their interest in Slaughter, but the big man is insistent on getting business done with Ginebra first before considering continuing his playing days outside the country.

"Yeah. I'm open to all possibilities," he said. "There has also been interest from other teams abroad. But at the moment, with respect to Ginebra and everything, all our experiences we've been through, I'd definitely love to talk to them before I make any final decisions. As of the moment, I'm just waiting to meet with them."

"I love the Philippines. [The] Philippines has always been a home to me. I definitely want to see what I can get worked out here before I make any decisions to go abroad," Slaughter added.

After spending the majority of the coronavirus pandemic training in Daytona Beach, Slaughter believes his "level of play has elevated."

"I feel like I'm on a level that I've never been before," Slaughter described. "We addressed every problem and just really rebuilt my body composition, got a lot of work with the strength and conditioning, added a lot of skills, and we really trained on attributes. These attributes allowed me to just react on the court, not just go to a predetermined move that we worked on, but actually just have these attributes that allow you to apply what you need to do in the right situation."

A lot of his improvements have had to do with his work with Gary Boyson, a veteran NBA scout who's had 16 years of league experience with the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks.

"He's seen the very best," said Slaughter. "You think about it: a scout's looking at every player, looking at what's lacking, what they excel in, what needs to be there for them to get to the next level. This guy just had the eye. He knows everything that I needed to work on."

Asked what led him to work on himself away from the PBA and with Boyson in the United States, Slaughter said he figured it was a good time "to rediscover myself -- rediscover what kind of player I was, work on the things I needed to do. Now that I've had all this great training, I'm recharged and I'm ready to go, mentally and physically refreshed."

BUT it might not be Ginebra or any international ball club who'll get to reap the benefits of Slaughter's progress first. With the big man ineligible for the 2020 season restart in Clark and with his desire to talk to his mother team first, the seven-foot center's first opportunity to play competitive basketball might first come with Gilas Pilipinas.

Slaughter, who qualifies as a local player under FIBA rules, could possibly be one of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' (SBP) choices for 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers this November, when the national team will miss its usual PBA stars against South Korea and Thailand.

For his part, Slaughter said he's willing to to suit up for Gilas and even shared that he's been in contact with program director Tab Baldwin throughout his training abroad.

"I've been in contact with coach Tab while I've been in Florida. Been updating him with my progress. I think he's very happy with what he sees," he said.

However, SBP is still waiting on Slaughter to wrap up his talks with Ginebra first.

"At the moment, I think with the SBP, they're just waiting to see my talks with Ginebra before they get in any talks with me. Hopefully I can get my talks with Ginebra soon so I can get some clarity on if I'll be able to join Gilas or not. But at the moment, playing-wise I'm absolutely ready to go," he said.

No matter what the immediate future holds, the four-time PBA champion says he's still very much "hungry for more."

"It's been fun getting to where I am right now, but honestly I feel like I have a lot more to go. I'm really looking forward to the future and everything that's gonna come with it," said Slaughter. "I think it was a blessing in disguise that I was able to have this time off to just rediscover and reevaluate everything I am as a player, and I just think I came out a lot better from it. It's been fun up to this point, but I'm still very hungry for more.

"Now that I'm on this path, I still think I can get better. With all the things I've learned, I'm just gonna keep working for that. Not only am I a better player physically, but I've learned a lot of things throughout the years. This whole experience has taught me a lot, and I think it's matured me a lot. Physically and mentally, I think I've improved and I'm very excited to get out there and play some games."