No one was prouder of Nards Pinto than Scottie Thompson following a solid outing that enabled Barangay Ginebra to begin its PBA Governors’ Cup title retention bid on the right foot by beating Rain or Shine, Sunday night.
“Luka!” the reigning MVP told his good pal while the latter was speaking to reporters moments after their 118-106 win at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Asked about it, Thompson explained that it’s simply because his backcourt partner has been doing some moves a la NBA superstar Luka Doncic during team practice — some of which at his expense, he admitted.
“Luka, talagang sa practice ginagawa niya yung mga stepback, eh idol niya rin ata si Luka,” he quipped.
“Ina-anklebreak nga niya ako sa practice.”
Pinto did pull off the move during the match — a stepback jumper near the left baseline that pushed the Kings’ lead to 99-93 with 6:44 left to play.
It proved to be his last points of the game as the seasoned guard finished with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting — including a 2-of-4 clip from beyond the arc — together with two rebounds, three assists, and a steal off the bench.
Turning serious, Thompson is glad to witness his fellow Davaoeño reap the benefits of the hard work he has been putting in.
“Ang ganda ng ginawa niya,” he said. “Ang kinaganda kay Nards talaga, ready siya every time tinatawag yung pangalan niya, kahit late siya ginagamit or never siya ginamit. Talagang ready siya at siya yung pinakauna sa practice.
“To be honest, siya ‘yung pagdating ko, pawis na pawis na siya. Talagang it’s all about hard work, yung hard work niya noong playoffs. Credit sa kanya talaga na naging ready siya,” added the 29-year-old.
Pinto, on the other hand, said that he’s only lucky to see his shot fall, but at the same time gratified to see extra effort in practice pay off.
“Suwerte eh,” the 32-year-old said. “Suwerte kanina na pumapasok yung tira e. Tinry ko lang ulit nung naka-shoot ako so pumasok ng maganda naman.
“Tsaka kami naman, lahat sa Ginebra, before practice nagshu-shooting kami. Buti naman nagamit namin sa game,” he added.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.