LIKE how he leaves everyone in awe when he snatches a rebound from nowhere over taller opponents, Scottie Thompson is well aware that Mahindra is capable of pulling off surprises in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The sophomore playmaker and the rest of his Ginebra teammates found that out after the Floodbuster, who gave up most of their top players in the offseason, nearly toppled heavyweight San Miguel Beer last Sunday.
And the Gin Kings are careful not to take the Floodbuster lightly as they face off on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, eager to build some momentum in the all-Filipino conference.
“Sabi ni coach talagang bring our A-game bukas sa laro kasi yung Mahindra pinatunanayan nila last time na kayang-kaya nilang talunin kahit sinong team sa PBA,” Thompson said after practice on the eve of the 7 p.m. matchup.
Thompson has been a steady presence for the Gin Kings early in the season, averaging all-around numbers of 8.7 rebounds, eight points, and six assists in 32 minutes.
But Ginebra, as a team, has had an fluctuating start to the season, losing two of their first three games, the latest a 91-84 decision at the hands of GlobalPort last Sunday.
But Gin Kings coach Tim Cone reminded his wards to recommit to what made them finish as the last team standing in the Governors’ Cup, ending an eight-year championship drought.
“Sabi ni coach Tim, stick to the system and continue the process,” Thompson said. “Kahit nag-champion kami last conference, dapat tuluy-tuloy lang ‘yung development namin as a team.”
Cone, however, knows it’s easier said than done.
“We’re still looking for that elusive rhythm that we keep talking about,” the champion coach said. “We know we’ll get it at some point and we’ll get things going, but it won’t happen on its own. We need to work for it, which is something we’re not doing in games.”
“We need a little better sense of urgency,” he added as the Gin Kings embark on their first back-to-back games this conference, where they will be taking on Alaska two days after facing the Floodbuster.