EARL Thompson’s extra work in University of Perpetual Help practice continued to pay off on Friday when he registered a rare triple-double in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The fourth-year guard flashed his all-around brilliance in the Altas’ 73-65 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College, scattering 15 points, 13 boards, and 12 assists on top of three steals in 37 minutes.
The feat was the first in the country’s oldest collegiate league in two years or since Calvin Abueva registered 21 points, 20 boards, and 10 assists for San Sebastian in a 77-62 win over Mapua last September 2012.
But Thompson played down the achievement, saying his main focus was simply to involve his teammates first and do the dirty for an undermanned Altas side, as he came in the game knowing he would be a marked man.
“Ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko,” the pride of Digos City, Davao del Sur said. “Mindset ko kasi before the game na pupukpukin ako sa depensa, kaya sabi ko hindi muna ako maghahanap ng points — rebound at pasa muna. At (suwerte naman na) dumadating rin yung puntos paminsan-minsan.”
If you ask Altas coach Aric del Rosario, it all boils down to Thompson’s hardwork during and between training.
“Bunga yan ng paghihirap niya,” the respected mentor said of the athletic wingman, who is making for up for a limited showing last season when he was still recovering from a back injury.
Del Rosario bared that Thompson runs around the school’s track oval and go the weights room for strengthening twice a day.
As if that’s not enough, Thompson also sneaks in pushups and pull-ups when he would get subbed in scrimmages.
“Example siya sa mga teammates niya,” Del Rosario said.
So once his work ethic rubs off on his teammtes, the rest of the league should watch out.