Just like old times, Black and Slaughter are back in the Finals, only this time they're on opposite side

October 12, 2017

Greg Slaughter and Norman Black will be on opposite sides after enjoying great success in the collegiate ranks when Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco face off for the PBA Governors' Cup title.

Player and coach were allies when the Blue Eagles completed their historic five-peat run in the UAAP with titles in 2011 and 2012 alongside current NLEX guard Juami Tiongson, Kia forward Nico Salva and PBA-bound Kiefer Ravena.

Five years later, the two will aim for the PBA's biggest prize as foes.

"Just goes to show you what a great coach he is," Slaughter said of his former mentor. "Everywhere he's gone, he is having a lot of success. I've learned a lot from him and now it will be interesting to go up against him."

Slaughter made a stunning transfer to Ateneo in 2010 after a stellar career for University of the Visayas in Cebu, leading to his UAAP debut the following year under Black after undergoing residency.

He proved to be a major addition to Black's system as the Blue Eagles lost all but one game in 2011, completing a fourth straight UAAP crown by defeating the Terrence Romeo-powered Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the finals.

Slaughter continued his dominance the following year as Ateneo completed the five-peat in Black's final UAAP season with a sweep of University of Santo Tomas in the finals.

The two went their separate ways afterwards, with Black immediately finding success in his pro return by leading Talk 'N Text to the 2013 Philippine Cup title and steering Meralco to the last two finals of the Governors' Cup.

Slaughter was taken first by Ginebra in the 2013 draft and is now one of the top contenders for the Best Player of the Conference award after missing the last 10 months because of a knee injury.

Now in his first PBA Finals, Slaughter hopes to use his experience with Black to his advantage.

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"We'll see when it comes to play, but if he forced me baseline then I see that things haven't changed much," he said with a smile.(JT)