TWO proud sons of Davao, also former collegiate foes, renew their rivalry as Barangay Ginebra and Meralco face off in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Scottie Thompson and Baser Amer take on the playmaking duties for the Gin Kings and the Bolts, respectively, when both teams lock horns beginning with Game One on Friday night at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.
Amer, a Davao City native, has always had the number of Digos native Thompson in college whenever they met in the NCAA playoffs where Amer’s San Beda eliminated Thompson’s University of Perpetual Help in three straight Final Four meetings.
Thompson, however, finally tasted success against Amer in the pros after the Gin Kings beat the Bolts in the finals of last edition of the season-ending tournament.
Now, Thompson wants an encore against Amer in their finals rematch a year later.
“Siguro dahil pula sila noon,” Thompson said of Amer, referring to the Red Lions’ dominant color. “Ngayon ako naman yung pula so sana ma-eliminate namin sila ulit.”
Reaching his third finals in two years alone is already an achievement for the 24-year-old Thompson.
“Sobrang blessed, this early in my career ganito na,” Thompson said. “Grabe, naka-tatlong finals na pala ako. Sobrang thankful ako at happy. Happy ako na na-draft ako sa Ginebra at thankful ako sa tiwala sa akin ni coach.”
But sustained success on this stage is another story as Thompson braces for a much-improved Amer, who was Jimmy Alapag’s back-up last year but is now the Bolts’ bona-fide leader in also just his sophomore year.
“Sobrang ganda ng nilalaro ni Baser,” Thompson said. “Kaya sila naging successful ngayon dahil sa nilalaro niya at malaking addition din yung pagdagdag ni kuya Ranidel (de Ocampo) at Mike Tolomia ngayon. Mas madami silang bala this year kumpara last year.”
The Gin Kings have also upgraded with Greg Slaughter and Kevin Ferrer in tow.
“Difference talaga is madami kaming bigs ngayon,” Thompson said. “Although may advantage din yung kalaban namin kasi medyo mabagal kami. Like nung TNT series, nahirapan kami sa bilis nila.
“Pero dun namin makita kung paano mag coach si coach Tim,” he added. “Na-appreciate namin siya dahil sa mga adjustments niya. Isa talaga siya sa best sa PBA.”
While their coaches steer them, expect Thompson and Amer to be extensions of their mentors on the court and lead their respective teams.