CHRIS Newsome doesn’t mind seeing fellow rookie Scottie Thompson get more of the spotlight than him in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Despite the Meralco playmaker leading the Rookie of the Year race, it’s the Gin Kings guard — not even in the top five of the rookie standings entering the series — who has been getting more attention with his amazing rebounding ability, among other outstanding qualities.
Asked if he’s motivated by the talk centered on Thompson, his former Hapee teammate, Newsome shook his head.
“No,” Newsome said after the Bolts’ Game Three win on Wednesday night.
“We were teammates, so I know him really well. And the way he crashes the boards in unbelievable; sometimes, I don’t even know how he gets in there and snags those rebound over imports.”
“And you got to give credit where credit’s due and Scottie’s a great player and he’s going to have a great future in the PBA,” he added. “I wish the best for him and for all my fellow rookies.”
Newsome said the motivation is the same when he faces any player, from the freshman Thompson to the established star Mark Caguioa.
“Whether that’s Scottie or Mark, I got to play the same way, play good defense,” Newsome said. “Just because it’s Scottie and we’re both rookies doesn’t mean I got to play a different way than my normal game.”
On offense, Newsome showed why he’s the Rookie of the Year race frontrunner as he registered 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, on top of seven assists, three boards, and one steal in 38 minutes in Game Three after being held to just 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting, four assists, four boards, and one steal in 42 minutes in their Game Two loss.
“It was just me playing hard,” Newsome said. “My team did a really good job of helping me bounce back from Game Two. I didn’t shoot very well in Game Two and my team really encouraged me to keep shooting and stay aggressive because that’s what we need in order for Ginebra to guard us honestly.”
“Now, the pressure is on them to come back and try to make up in Game Four,” the high-flying Filipino-American guard added. “So I definitely felt I had to play and kind of leave it all out there in this game.”