FOILED by his own coach the last time out, Greg Slaughter showed what a difference-maker he could be in the endgame Sunday.
Slaughter capped his fine all-around performance with a game-saving block, lifting the Batang Pier over Rain or Shine 91-88 in overtime in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The seven-foot slotman foiled Gabe Norwood's potential game-tying triple try just before the buzzer, enabling NorthPort to snap out of a two-game slide and fan its hopes of making the quarterfinals outright.
Now with an even 5-5 record, the Batang Pier can hit their immediate target of making the last eight should they wind up the eliminations with another win over Alaska next week.
No little thanks to Slaughter, who wound up with 25 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks after putting behind him last Friday's experience, when he was taken out by coach Pido Jarencio in the dying seconds and sat helplessly as his side lost an 89-90 decision to Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok off Calvin Abueva's buzzer-beating inside basket.
Slaughter said that Hotshots game has been put behind them. "We're just a team that wants to win," he stated.
"A lot of frustration last time or any time you lose a game. But that just makes us hungrier for the next one. We're trusting each other, we're trusting coach Pido, we just pull it together and move on to the next one," added Slaughter.
Jarencio said he already apologized not only to Slaughter but to the entire team following the incident and that they have agreed to move forward.
"Actually, I'm so apologetic to Greg and the rest of the team. We patched up things. We're here to work, we're professionals. Ang goal namin, win (our) last two games playoffs for us," related Jarencio.
Frustration should be on Rain or Shine right now after it wound up the elims with a 6-5 slate, its chances of landing somewhere in the middle of the last eight now dependent on how the other qualifiers fare.
The Elasto Painters actually had the chance to tie the game earlier after James Yap was fouled while trying to launch a triple by rookie Jamie Malonzo. But the two-time MVP muffed his first two tries from the stripe, forcing him to intentionally miss the third.
Collaring the rebound and immediately fouled by Beau Belga, Malonzo left the door open for Rain or Shine when he muffed his own freebies, giving the E-Painters 2.6 seconds for a final play that was foiled by Slaughter.
NorthPort 91 - Slaughter 25, Bolick 24, Anthony 9, Malonzo 8, Elorde 7, Lanete 6, Grey 4, Ferrer 4, Onwubere 3, Rike 1, Taha 0, Subidoi 0, Balanza 0, Doliguez 0, Faundo 0.
Rain or Shine 88 - Ponferada 17, Belga 11, Santillan 9, Yap 9, Mocon 8, Borboran 8, Torres 8, Nambatac 6, Asistio 5, Norwood 3, Guinto 2, Caracut 2, Johnson 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarters:27-16, 42-37, 65-60, 80-80, 91-88 (OT)