IN the din of celebration moments after Barangay Ginebra finally clinched a berth in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Scottie Thompson's first order of business was to track down Star Hotshot rookie Jio Jalalon.
When he finally saw him, Thompson shook Jalalon's hand, gave him a hug, then lost no time offering some consoling words to his longtime friend and former college rival.
"Sabi ko sa kanya, heads up. Malaking achievement 'yan na nakapag-semis siya right in his first conference," said Thompson onhis short conversation with Jalalon after the Kings' 89-76 drubbing of the Hotshots in their do-or-die encounter on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"Ako nga, hindi ko 'yan nagawa nung rookie (conference) ko."
Jalalon, the former star of Arellano University, never got on track in Game Seven of the semis series played in front of a banner crowd of 20, 221. The rookie finished with only four points, four rebounds, and four assists. He shot 2 of 8 from the field overall.
In contrast, Thompson was a picture of consistency for the Kings. The sophomore guard, a product of University of Perpetual Help, had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the Kings, who swept the last two games of the best-of-seven semis to book a second straight finals berth.
Despite Jalalon and the Hotshots falling short of making the finals for the first time in three seasons, Thompson believes the future is bright for the franchise, especially for his close friend.
"Darating din sila diyan. Kailangan pa sigurong mag-grow yung team," he said.
Scottie knows what he's talking about, of course. He's been there before with Ginebra.