TEAM Pilipinas got a major boost in its World Cup qualifying campaign heading into its showdown with Iran after big man Greg Slaughter was finally given the go-signal by FIBA to play as a local.
SBP president Al Panlilio is also grateful for the FIBA decision on Slaughter's case.
The world governing body for the sport issued the decision dated Feb. 7 and addressed to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios.
"After a thorough review of the documentation by (the SBP), FIBA exceptionally authorizes Gregory William Slaughter to play for the Philippine national team without restriction," part of the letter read and signed by FIBA Secretary-General Patrick Baumann.
The 7-foot Slaughter was thrilled by the piece of good news that came two days before the national team leaves for Tehran, Iran.
"Couldn't be happier about this, thank you to SBP and FIBA for paving the way," said the Barangay Ginebra big man which he posted on his tweeter account. "I'm looking forward to beginning a wonderful journey with the national team."
"The SBP is elated with this development in our desire to come up with the best basketball roster for our flag and country," said Panlilio in a statement from Las Vegas, where he is with the entire PBA Board of Governors for its annual planning session.
Slaughter learned about the FIBA decision on Saturday while the team was at practice at the FCL Center in Xavierville Avenue.
The Fil-Am big man though, sat down the team's practice for the third straight day due to an ankle injury he suffered in Ginebra's last game against NorthPort in the PBA Governors Cup
Until FIBA came out with the decision, Slaughter's situation hangs in the balance as he is only qualified to play for the national team as a naturalized player, a position which he has to fight with two other teammates in Christian
Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle for its Sept. 13 game against Iran and Sept. 17 encounter with Qatar at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to be played behind closed door.
But now that he's been cleared by FIBA, Slaughter is looking forward of wearing the country's tricolors every single opportunity given him.
"Right now I'm really happy with the eligibility (issue) cause now I know that in the future and for the rest of my career, I look forward to playing on the national team every opportunity I have," he said. (RG)