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Tiebreaker Times

2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

Scottie Thompson admits being starstruck playing alongside Andray Blatche

Growing up, Scottie Thompson admits that he was a basketball junkie. Moreover, he would wake up early in the morning to watch NBA games.

Monday evening, the 25-year-old utility guard was granted the wish of every basketball fan – to play with a former NBA pro in Andray Blatche. Not only that, they will be teammates, as Gilas Pilipinas embarks on a crucial final window in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Nakaka-starstruck din pala kasi yun nga, first time ko din siya nakasama maglaro.

“Iba yung pakiramdam. Parang mas confident kami as a team ngayon kasi nandiyan na siya,” gushed Thompson, himself a three-time PBA champion already.

During Blatche’s first practice with this batch of Gilas, he immediately brought in plenty of positive energy to a national team that has its back against the wall.

“He’s bringing in a lot of confidence. He’s really lifting the morale of the team just because of his abilities,” shared head coach Yeng Guiao.

“Oo naman nakakagana, siyempre. Lalong lalo na yung mga kababayan natin pinapangarap na makasama siya ulit dito para makatulong sa atin para sa pangarap nating World Cup,” added Thompson, who is averaging 3.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in four games in the WCQ.

“Ang laking chance kasi nandiyan na siya pero hindi madali. Kailangan i-work namin yung chemistry namin as a team.”

It’s been just four days since Blatche arrived in Manila. But in the short time that he will be here, Blatche is making sure to get to know his new teammates by familiarizing himself with how they play.

#ReadMore  Gilas Pilipinas take care of business in Kazakhstan, book ticket to FIBA World Cup

“There’s two or three guys I’ve never played with before,” Blatche shared referring to JP Erram, Mark Barroca, and Thompson. “As I can see… I can’t remember his name yet, but he likes to cut. But another one’s being in the corner, hitting, shooting threes.

“So it’s all about just knowing basketball with these guys.”

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