Cone raves about Thompson's unique passing ability: 'He finds players before they even know they're open'
Ginebra rookie Scottie Thompson was the game hero on Sunday night. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra coach Tim Cone probably has a thing or two on his wish list for his birthday.

But it seems the Grand Slam coach already received one gift even before he turned 58 on Monday.

The early birthday present is turning out to be Scottie Thompson, who has been making life easier for Cone, rescuing the Gin Kings when it seemed no one else could.

The unflappable rookie playmaker fired 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Ginebra to a come-from-behind victory over NLEX on Saturday.

[See Cone denies hee quit on Ginebra at height of NLEX rampage]

But more than his scoring, Cone was impressed by Thompson’s “unique” ability to share the ball.

“He finds players before they even know they’re open,” Cone admitted. “That’s a unique skill. Only a few players have that skill.”

Thompson dished out three assists along with five boards and one steal against only one turnover in 23 minutes against the Road Warriors.

Cone, who earlier compared Thompson to former star guard Johnny Abarrientos, trusted in his rookie sensation so much that he played him the entire fourth quarter, getting him out only in the final three seconds after a shoulder injury.

“He was playing so well,” the American mentor said. “I almost rested Scottie twice and I was going to take him out and I said, 'No, leave him in there. The kid’s only twenty-two years old; he can play forever.' So we left him in and let him play and he was just performing on both sides.”

“It was fun watching him bring us back,” he added. “I wouldn’t have taken him out of the last two (seconds) either, but he got hurt.”

[See Signs encouraging on Thompson's shoulder injury]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos