So it felt really good for them to return to their roots and enjoy the game between their former schools University of Perpetual Help and Arellano University now as teammates for the most popular team in the PBA in Barangay Ginebra.
The Ginebra trio were definitely considered as some of the best NCAA players over the past decade as Thompson won the NCAA MVP plum in 2014 while Pinto and Salado separately led the Chiefs to two finals appearances.
Now they return as established PBA stars but with still the same passion and fire for their schools.
“Asaran nga kami kanina e, napapaos ako e. Siyempre sarap sa pakiramdam na makabalik, nakakamiss ang mga drums sa NCAA at siyempre iba yung feeling na naglalaro ka para sa school mo, pride yan e,” the now reigning PBA MVP Thompson said.
“Hanggang ngayon pride ko yung Perpetual kaya nagaasaran kami ni Kent kanina, pride din niya ang Arellano at di nawawala yung dugo namin na yun, kung saan kami nangaling.”
Salado and Pinto echoed the same sentiments, saying that the moment they heard the drums, goosebumps were already being felt.
“Nung pagpasok ko pa lang sa court, yung drums, yun ang unang maririnig mo e, nakakamiss, nakakatindig balahibo lalo na yung school mo ang naglalaro,” Salado shared.
“Sobrang saya kasi dito kami nangaling, dito namin pinakita yung mga talent namin bago kami napunta sa pros at yun nga si Scottie ang nag-invite para makapanood kami dito,” Pinto added. “Sakto, Perpetual at Arellano ang naglalaro. So sobrang saya, ang sarap ng feeling na makabalik.”
In the end, it was Pinto and Salado who had the last laugh as the Chiefs won over the Altas, 61-59. All banters aside though, Thompson is just happy with how far they’ve gone from being stalwarts in college to playing in the pros together.
“Dati NCAA kami, magkakalaban pero sa totoo lang magkakaibigan kami off the court, siyempre mga bisaya, sobrang lucky at sobrang swerte namin kasi magkasama kami sa iisang team,”
“Laking bagay yun for us kasi sila lagi kasama ko sa team, si Kent, si Nards, mga tubong bisaya, kaya masaya, different schools kami sa NCAA pero naging one team kami sa PBA.”
Scottie Thompson Impressed With Perpetual’s Triangle Offense
When Thompson was selected fifth overall in the 2015 PBA draft by Barangay Ginebra, he had to learn the ropes of playing in Tim Cone’s famed triangle offense.
The offense is considered as one of the most complicated set-plays in basketball, as it relies on movement, excellent passing and reads on and off the ball.
So imagine his surprise when he worked out with the Altas during one practice session and his old team was running the same system that gave him problems in his rookie year to near perfection.
“Alam mo nung nakikipractice ako sa kanila, na-impress ako sa triangle offense nila. Hindi basta basta yun ah, nag-triangle ako kay coach Tim dati nung nirurun namin so na-experience ko rin,” Thompson stated.
“Pero nung ni-rurun nila talaga, na feel ko na talagang comfortable sila sa ginagawa nila na triangle, kaya naging successful sila last season. Ngayon nakita ko naman yung first game nila sobrang ganda ng execution sa offense at defense nila,” he added. “I think experience narin kasi matagal na sila magkakasama. Walang masyadong nawala sa team kaya mataas ang expectations ko talaga sa kanila.”
While the Altas lost a close one, Thompson believes that they are set for another semis run. Thompson is so high on this current Altas squad that he believes they have the capabilities of doing things he wasn’t able to do when he was with the school – make the finals.
“High expectations ako sa kanila kasi nagfinal-four sila last season so mataas ang morale nila. Hopefully makapasok sila final four and siyempre pina-pray ko rin na makapag-finals sila, something na di ko naibigay sa Perpetual.”
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