SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — They say big-time players make big-time plays, and Scottie Thompson proved just that when Ginebra faced TNT in Game Two of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Wednesday night.
With the Gin Kings staring at a one-point deficit, the do-it-all guard knocked down a cold-blooded three-pointer from the right corner — off a Stanley Pringle kick-out — with 30.5 seconds to play to give his side the 87-85 lead.
That was Thompson’s only field goal Thompson in the entire game, while he uncharacteristically committed six turnovers. Still, he made up for it with nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals in nearly 40 minutes of play.
Ginebra eventually won, 92-90, to take a 2-0 lead in the race-to-four series.
“He’s a big-play guy,” said head coach Tim Cone of the 27-year-old. “He shoots that way even in college, and he had that responsibility for us. It’s just that we’ve had a lot of other guys who can do it as well.
“Justin [Brownlee], of course, was there; LA [Tenorio] was there; now Stanley [Pringle]. But you know, teams are slowly realizing that you can’t leave Scottie open on the three-point shot.”
It was only five nights ago when Thompson pulled off the same heroic act. He sank a trey from the left corner with sixth-tenths of a second left, towing the Gin Kings past Meralco in the Semis’ Game Five on their way to the Last Dance.
Having witnessed such from the former NCAA Most Valuable Player, Cone knew in his heart that the Gin Kings would take the lead the very moment he saw the ball land in Thompson’s hands.
“When I saw that pass go out to him, I was already thinking, ‘Alright, we’re ahead,’ because I know it’s gonna go in,” he said confidently.
“Really, it’s true. I was already thinking we were ahead.”
Cone knows that Thompson has always been least of another team’s concerns on offense. But for him, the way he hit big shots in the playoffs should serve as a warning moving forward.
“I think the league will catch up to that pretty soon, but again, we have a lot of weapons on the floor. You gotta leave somebody open, and leave Scottie open, he’ll make you pay,” the 22-time champion coach said.
“He wouldn’t have done that earlier in his career, but now he will.”