By WAYLON P. GALVEZ
THE status of Greg Slaughter remains uncertain with the national team due to a sprained left ankle and there is a possibility for him to miss a game again in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers for Asia.
The 7-foot Slaughter did not play in the national team’s 81-73 loss to Iran Thursday night in Tehran. He also did not join in two practices on the lead up to the game against Iran.
The team of coach Yeng Guiao will host Qatar in a closed-door match Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Greg is uncertain,” said coach Ryan Gregorio, a member of Guiao’s coaching staff and the team’s lead scout, in a text message yesterday as the team awaits for its departure back to Manila as the flight has been delayed 12 hours at the Dubai International Airport.
Slaughter, who recently got an approval from FIBA to play for the national team without any restriction, injured his ankle in a PBA Governors’ Cup game when his team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel battled North Port last September 5 at the Big Dome.
Slaughter fell awkwardly when he landed at a fallen Sean Anthony with under six minutes to play in the game.
The national team training pool of Guiao is already without reigning four-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo – out with a shin injury – and naturalized player Andray Blatche, who is serving a three-game suspension from FIBA.
After their game versus Iran at Azardy Gym, the entire delegation went back at the Olympic Hotel which is just 10 minutes away from the basketball venue.
From the capital of Iran, the Filipinos flew to Dubai but were informed of the delay due to typhoon in the country. Instead of arriving Friday night, the Nationals will be arriving Saturday morning and will have practice in the evening to prepare against Qatar.
Guiao opted to bring Slaughter, hoping to include him in the roster against the Iranians as primary defender for 7-foot-2 center Hamed Haddadi. The former NBA player for the Memphis Grizzlies, however, didn’t play until the final 58 seconds with the game already decided.
The leading scorer for the Iranians in the last Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia, the 33-year-old Haddadi reportedly has a knee injury that is why Iran coach Mehran Shahintab decided not to field him in almost the entire game versus the Philippines.
Guiao will know the status of Slaughter when practice resumes. Aside from that, the national team mentor will also have to decide on who will be the naturalized player against Qatar.
Although both have Filipino bloods, Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, who played against Iran, and Fil-American Stanley Pringle are considered as naturalized under FIBA rules.
Guiao will have to make a decision on this since a team can only use only one.
If the ankle of Slaughter is not fully healed, the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger, who collected game highs of 30 points and 12 rebounds against Iran, has a strong case to again be the team’s naturalized player against Qatar.
Two more players are also likely to join the team of Guiao in the Qatar game as Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright are returning from one game suspension each from FIBA.