Tim Cone expects Scottie Thompson to get chance to be 'the man' for Ginebra
Tim Cone says Scottie Thompson is bound to take over the Ginebra starting point guard role if LA Tenorio makes it to the final team of Gilas. Jerome Ascano

SCOTTIE Thompson gets a chance to spread his wings for Barangay Ginebra with the possible absence of LA Tenorio and twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar at the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup next month.

Tenorio and Aguilar are in the running for spots in the Final 12 of Gilas Pilipinas and a stint in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July will leave both needing to sit out the early stages of the season-ending conference.

That will open minutes in the Ginebra backcourt for the 6-foot-1 rookie Thompson, who turns 23 on July 12.

Gin Kings coach Tim Cone expects all his healthy players to step up with the injured Slaughter also out, but made special mention of Thompson, the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft.

“They’re (Slaughter, Aguilar, Tenorio) such a big part of what we do it just seems that everything we do is, not useless, but those are the guys that need to do it more than anybody and not having them here is (a setback),” Cone said.

“But on the other hand, it gets chances for the other guys to step up and really be scorers and expand their games,” the champion coach added. “Hopefully we can get our guys coming off the bench a lot better, guys like Scottie; he really steps up now and really gets a chance to be ‘the man’ without LA and Greg and Japeth.”

[See Ginebra taps Drew Crawford, son of NBA ref, as import for Governors Cup]

The Gin Kings are also missing Joe Devance early in training camp as the versatile Filipino-American forward is still attending to his stepfather, who was unfortunately diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Expect Thompson, who averaged 4.5 points on 42.4-percent shooting from the field, including a 39.4-percent clip from beyond the arc, along with 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 0.5 steal in 15.6 minutes in 22 games this season, to step up.

“Kung makasama siya (Tenorio) dun sa Gilas, ready lang ako kung anong (ipapagawa) ni coach sa akin,” the former NCAA MVP out of Perpetual Help said. “Double effort na lang ako kasi kailangan mag-step up kung sakali wala si kuya LA.”

Good thing the pride of Digos City is refreshed after spending his vacation going around Mindanao the last month, from Surigao to Camiguin to Cagayan de Oro to Iligan, before making his last stop in Davao.

“Kailangan kong mas go hard lagi at ready lang palagi pag binubunot ni coach,” he said.


[See Slaughter out for majority of conference, says Cone]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos