Gilas eyeing Slaughter, Standhardinger for Iran

MANILA, Philippines — Can Gilas Pilipinas get Greg Slaughter to play with the team as a regular national player or a naturalized player?

This is being sorted out by the national team heading to its next two games in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers where the Nationals tangle with Hamed Haddadi and his Iranian teammates in Tehran on Sept. 13, then against Qatar in a closed-door venue at home on Sept. 17.

The best scenario for Team Phl is to have the 7-foot-1 behemoth as a regular player so that it can tap either Christian Standhardinger or Stanley Pringle as a naturalized player under the FIBA eligibility rule.

National coach Yeng Guiao said he would wait for the answer on Slaughter’s eligibility before naming his Final 12.

“We hope we can make them play as locals, as Filipinos. But we’ve yet get FIBA’s clearance of their eligibility as Filipinos at this point,” said Guiao at the end of their first day of practice at the Meralco Gym in Pasig Monday.

“If we’re not able to complete the documents of Greg, we have to choose between those three guys who will be designated as our naturalized player,” Guiao said.

A key is a Philippine passport acquired before they turned 16.

In the absence of suspended naturalized player Andray Blatche as well as June Mar Fajardo, Slaughter could match up with Haddadi.

But Team Iran remains a tough assignment at this time after bagging the silver medal in the just-concluded Asian Games in Jakarta.

Going to the fourth window of the FIBAWC eliminator, Iran is tied with Australia in the lead in Group F with their identical 5-1 win-loss slates. The Philippines is at solo third at 4-2, followed by Kazakhstan at 3-3 then Japan and Qatar at 2-4. The top three from the group will automatically book tickets to the 2019 World Cup in China.

For their games against Iran and Qatar, others being considered to don the country’s blue and white jersey are Asiad holdovers Asi Taulava, Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Poy Erram and Paul Lee, new invitees Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson and Ian Sangalang, and Gilas veterans Japeth Aguilar, Matthew Wright and Allein Malicsi.

Slaughter is confident he can be cleared as a regular player, hopeful his parents can send the necessary documents from the US.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio to a Filipina mom and an American father, Slaughter has already played for the national team in the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad then in the 2011 SEA Games.

“My parents hopefully can send those (documents) over. Hopefully, they can get to process that, and hopefully my eligibility will be all good,” he said.