MANILA, Philippines – Coach Tim Cone has not closed all doors on the possibility of Greg Slaughter cracking Gilas Pilipinas' lineup for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games despite already announcing the final roster.
Slaughter was kept out of the 12-man lineup for the SEA Games due to his dislocated right thumb, but the decision could be overturned after he returned from a two-week layoff in the PBA Governors' Cup.
The seven-foot big man came back from a three-game absence and helped Barangay Ginebra prevent San Miguel from a nailing a rare Grand Slam with a 100-97 quarterfinal win on Sunday, November 24.
Seeing action for more than 20 minutes, Slaughter had 5 points and 4 rebounds with a second team-best plus-minus of +7.
"He's still not feeling 100% with that thumb. If he can show us he's 100%, then we will think about making a change at the managers' meeting and including him at that point," Cone told reporters.
"But he has to prove he's healthy and that thumb has full range of motion. Right now he's still 60, 70%," he added.
Gilas Pilipinas is expected to return to practice on Thursday, November 28, after the Governors' Cup quarterfinals wraps up with Slaughter joining the team.
"It's a final 12, but there still could be changes, especially depending on how people feel after the quarterfinals," Cone said.
Meanwhile, the exclusion of other Barangay Ginebra wards Scottie Thompson and Art Dela Cruz is final barring injuries to other SEA Games players.
"Basically unless we have an injury or something, they've done their job and they've done their contributions to the country," Cone said.
"It's a great sacrifice to come in there, do the work, and not be able to play. Art and Scottie have been incredibly unselfish and great guys."
Basketball action kicks off on December 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena with the Philippines battling Singapore. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.