ARIC del Rosario has been such an integral part of Scottie Thompson's career that the Ginebra guard wouldn't deny that he owes everything he has to his former Perpetual mentor.
"Ang laking bagay ni coach Aric. Isa siya sa nagpaangat talaga ng Perpetual noong time ko," he told The Prospects Pod.
So grateful is Thompson to del Rosario that the late, great coach truly prepared him for life after college in his move to the PBA.
And what better way for him to go to the big leagues than be handled by a Tim Cone in the Gin Kings camp.
"Sinabi niya lang na alam niyang okay naman ako sa system, so sinabi niya lang sa akin na si coach Tim talaga more on system coach. Kaya ni-ready ko yung sarili ko doon," said Thompson.
"Kaya siguro pagdating ko sa PBA, pagdating ko kay coach Tim, hindi na ako masyadong nag-adjust kasi prepared na ako, pinrepare na ako ni coach Aric kung anong mangyayari sa system."
That bond was a big reason for Ginebra in snagging Thompson fifth in the 2015 PBA Draft.
"Sinasabi lang ni coach Tim na longtime assistant niya si coach Aric kaya din nakita niya ako," said Thompson.
After all, Del Rosario was part of Cone's coaching staff back in the 1990s and were together in Alaska's Grand Slam triumph in 1996.
So intent was del Rosario in helping Thompson ready himself for the PBA that there were times when the former Altas mentor would draw up plays close to the triangle to better engross the Digos, Davao del Sur product to what awaits him in Ginebra.
"May time pa nga na kahit ongoing pa yung season tapos na-draft na ako, tinatawag ako ni coach Aric at nag-draw siya sa board na ganito minsan yung system ni coach Tim, yung triangle nga. Sobrang laking tulong sa akin kasi at least may idea ka na," he said.
That's why even up to now, Thompson is nothing but thankful to be guided by Del Rosario.
"Pagdating ni coach Aric sa Perpetual, talagang doon namin na-feel lahat ang pagiging basketball player, pagiging varsity, pagiging importante bilang player. Nung dumating nga siya sa Perpetual, lahat ng request niya na para sa mga player, talagang nirequest niya sa owner at binigay agad. Ang laking bagay talaga yung sinimulan ni coach Aric sa Perpetual," he said.
"Without him, siguro wala rin ako dito sa PBA."