MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone could not help but praise Scottie Thompson after the hard-working guard keyed their 88-80 triumph over Rain or Shine in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series.
Thompson, one of the most versatile guards in the PBA today, came through with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, grabbed 16 rebounds, and dished out seven assists. For good measure, he added a steal in over 41 minutes of action.
"I thought Scottie was phenomenal all game long, hit big shots, hit big rebounds, defended extremely well. He was shockingly good," Cone said after the game. "He's always good, but he was shockingly good today."
Thompson's near triple-double performance came just two days after he scored 10 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Ginebra's exhausting 100-92 triple-overtime win against Rain or Shine – a result that ensured the two teams will face off in a best-of-3 quarterfinal series.
For Cone, Thompson's tremendous effort was exactly what they needed to get past a tough, veteran Rain or Shine team.
"(Thompson) epitomizes what we hope that we are as a team in terms of that hard work and desire," Cone said. "He epitomizes what we do, and I just want to mention him because he was special tonight."
"He's special all the time, but he was extra special tonight," said the multi-titled mentor.
Thompson, who was a triple-double machine during his collegiate days in Perpetual Help, was just glad to have fulfilled the task assigned to him by his coach.
"I think, 'yun talaga 'yung pinapagawa sa amin ni coach," said Thompson, who was the NCAA MVP in 2014 before getting picked fifth overall by Ginebra in the 2015 PBA Rookie Draft.
"Kailangan namin i-grind 'yung laro," he added. "We know this is a tough game, talagang bakbakan ito. Dinoble ko lang 'yung sipag ko. Buti, okay 'yung result."
"Ginagawa ko lang 'yung best ko. Play hard lang," Thompson also said.
He is already anticipating an even tougher game on Wednesday, when they try to finish off the Elasto Painters. Thompson expects a desperate Rain or Shine team to show up and give them all they can handle.
"We know Rain or Shine is a tough team din. Alam nila 'yung mga lapses namin," Thompson noted. "Pag-aaralan nila. Kami rin, maga-adjust din kami sa mga lapses namin. Hopefully, makuha namin."
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