One of the highlights of in Basketball in the next season of the Universities and Athletics Association of the Philippines (its 74th season), would be the battle of the rookie big men between perennial University rivals Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU).
On one side, in the blue corner, wearing blue and white uniform, standing 6’11”, weighing 240 lbs … playing for the AdMU Blue Eagles … Grrrreeeeeeg Slaaaauuuuu-TER!!!
On the other side, in the green corner, wearing green and white uniform, standing 6’9″, weighing 230 lbs … playing for the DLSU Green Archers … Arrrrrnold … Vaaaaan Ops-STAAAAALLLLL!!!
While players of such heights are common in collegiate leagues in taller countries, not so in the Philippines. Its is relatively rare to find players of such height, not to mention skill, to be in one university or collegiate league at the same time.
In fact, the last time such a pair of tall players ended up in the UAAP, was in the late 80s, with 6’9″ Marlou Aquino playing for the Adamson Falcons, and 6’11” EJ Feihl playing for the University of Santo Tomas (then known as) Glowing Goldies.
‘The Match Up’
Between the two, Greg Slaughter is older, and much more experienced as a player. Greg has played three seasons for the University of Visayas Lancers. He has also played against much better competition, playing against UAAP and NCAA team in the Philippine Collegiate League.
Not to mention his stint with Smart Gilas, where he has played, and lately played well against international competitions in the US, Europe, and Asia. All in all, his experience over the years has molded Greg into a pretty good player, at least as far as Philippine Collegiate league standards is concerned. Greg is also slightly taller, and heavier than Arnold Van Opstal (AVO).
AVO, on the other hand, has only played in the UAAP’s Junior (or High School) league. His performance, while pretty good, has been far from impressive. Playing against much shorter opponents (mostly 6’2″-6’3″ Centers and Forwards), he has not really gone out and lorded it over everybody else as you would expect from a player with his height advantage.
However, he is young, and reportedly athletic, and with good coordination. Couple that with the quality training and competition he will be getting with the Green Archers, he could pull of a surprise in his matchup with Slaughter.
At this point, though, I would give the advantage to Greg. AVO might be the next important big man a couple of years down the line, but at the moment, he seems a bit too green to upstage Greg in their matchup.