EARL Thompson has continued to show why he is the leading MVP candidate in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
A marked man since pacing the statistical points race at the end of the first round of eliminations, the University of Perpetual Help star displayed the other facets of his game to lead the Altas to a 101-86 win over Arellano on Monday.
“Kasi nung una, grabe yung depensa. Kinakalmot ako at tinutulak,” Thompson rued after the game. “So nag-feed muna ako sa mga teammates ko at rebound.”
Harold Arboleda and Juneric Baloria repaid his faith, firing 28 and 26 points, respectively, and combining for eight treys.
“Nandyan naman silang dalawa (Arboleda and Baloria) na umiiskor kaya nag-adjust ako,” Thompson said.
As a result, the versatile wingman put up another all-around performance, tallying a triple-double of 11 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists, on top of two blocks and one steal in 31 minutes.
It was his second triple-double of the season after scattering 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists in the Altas’ 73-65 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College last July 11.
Thompson thus became the first player in the country’s oldest collegiate league to record two triple-doubles in a season since Calvin Abueva did it in his final year with San Sebastian two years ago.
Still, the 21-year-old pride of Digos City remains focused on leading the Altas to another Final Four appearance and maybe more.
“Ang iniisip ko lang kung ano matutulong ko para manalo ang team. Bonus na lang kung ano man (ang makuha ko).”