SCOTTIE Thompson was on the wrong end of a rare June Mar Fajardo poster halfway through the fourth period in the tightly contested Game Five of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
A few moments later, Thompson became the poster boy of Ginebra’s 87-83 win over San Miguel, the first close victory in what has been a series marred by blowouts.
Thompson scored six straight in Ginebra’s late 9-0 run to lead the crowd favorites towards the hill just a four days removed from a humiliating 38-point blowout.
Thompson recovered from a hard fall after a collision with Fajardo, draining two foul shots to trim the San Miguel lead to one, 83-82 with 1:07 to go in the game. Thompson was at it again 30 seconds later as he drained the go-ahead jumper, before sealing the game off with a breakway lay-up to give Ginebra an 86-83 lead with 23 ticks to go.
The proud son of Digos City played down the heroics – saying that he was just simply in the right place, at the right time and that it’s their team defense which should be credited.
“Sobrang lucky lang kasi yung nga, yung defense namin, talagang grind (out) so yung mga shoot ko bandang huli, I think, lucky shot na lang yun,” said Thompson.
“We really need this game, gusto naming ipanalo to so thankfully, yun,” he added.
In a series where lack of local scoring has been one of Ginebra’s main issues, Thompson became Justin Brownlee’s unlikely reliever.
Thompson finished with a team-high 20 points to go along 11 rebounds and three assists on an efficient 7-12 shooting from the field and 3-5 from threes.
Prior to this game, Thompson was just averaging 10.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
“My teammates and coaches talaga, sinasabi nila, if they leave me open, itira ko. Yun lang ginagawa ko. Na-open ako, tinitira ko lang,” said Thompson.
Again, his head coach in Tim Cone was the last person to be surprised with how Thompson performed.
“Scottie had a great everything game. Unbelievable. Rebounds early in the game, playing Cabagnot all-game long then picking up big, huge defensive rebounds down the stretch because Balkman and June Mar were killing us on the boards," the league's most successful coach said.
"Our big guys were trying to keep them out, and it was up to Scottie to go and get to the boards and get those rebounds, and he did. Amazingly,” added Cone who once again compared his ward to Russell Westrbrook’s style of play.
“I just think Scottie is going to become a more and more complete player in terms of, he's gonna be a 20-point scorer at some point in his career, he's gonna average 8-10 assists a game, probably gonna average 12-14 rebounds.”
While those are certainly big expectations, Thompson’s focus is on the now as he looks to continue his stellar play heading into the close out game six.
“Hopefully, ganun pa rin kasi gusto ko aggressive every time offense and defense. Hustling, offensive rebounds, defending, yan yung pinaka-best way na tulong ko sa team.”