LA Tenorio is glad he won’t have to shoulder most of the playmaking duties for Barangay Ginebra from now on.
The veteran point guard has welcomed the arrival of a new backcourt partner in Scottie Thompson, who has shown maturity well beyond his years in the his rookie season in the PBA.
Thompson, the league’s youngest player at 22, showed nerves of steel by knocking down a three-pointer that sealed the Gin Kings’ pulsating 102-94 double-overtime win over Blackwater in Angeles City on Saturday night.
But more than his clutch scoring, it’s the playmaking of this year’s fifth overall pick that, Tenorio believes, that will benefit the team in the long run.
“Malaking bagay si Scottie sa distribution ng bola,” Tenorio told Spin.ph in the team bus after the game. “Kita naman natin kung paano siya mag-distribute at yung smart plays niya.”
With Thompson at the point, Tenorio has played off the ball more and has let his rookie counterpart orchestrate the offense when they are playing together.
A triple-double machine in college, the 6-foot-1 Thompson finished with six assists, along with nine points and nine rebounds, and one steal in another all-around effort in 28 minutes.
Mark Caguioa also had a hand, dishing out a team-high nine assists, while Sol Mercado and Greg Slaughter had four apiece.
That in turn allowed Tenorio to become more aggressive on offense, leading to his best-scoring game of the all-Filipino conference with 19 points – after coming in averaging just 7.9 points – on top of eight boards, and two assists in 48 minutes.
The former Ateneo star is just hoping Thompson would keep growing.
“Hopefully mas matuto pa siya,” Tenorio said of the former NCAA MVP out of Perpetual Help. “Kailangan talaga namin siya.”
Thompson, though, has deflected credit to his veteran counterpart, saying he has been learning from the best.
“Marami kasi parati nya akong kinakausap sa practice at sa game, lagi nya akong ine-encourage,” the Digos, Davao del Sur native said. “Malaking tulong sa akin si Kuya LA.”
Chalk that up as another assist for Thompson.