PBA: Cone hails 'unsung hero' Thompson in Govs' Cup triumph

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2020 09:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2020 10:13 PM

Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra's run to the title in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup was a complete team effort, but head coach Tim Cone felt Scottie Thompson was one of the squad's unsung heroes during their series against the Meralco Bolts.

Thompson was his usual versatile self, tallying 8.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game in the five-game series. Cone noted that the young guard also did plenty of things that do not show up in the box score.

"I think Scottie's a real unsung hero," Cone said of Thompson. "He did so many things in that series that people are not gonna really recognize in terms of the defense, in terms of the passing, the transition and the incredible effort that he plays with all the time."

It was Thompson's defense on Meralco's Chris Newsome that helped turn the tide of the series.

Newsome scored 20 points in the first half of Game 3, but was held to four points in the second half with Thompson serving as his primary defender. In Games 4 and 5, Newsome scored a combined 25 points on 12-of-33 shooting.

Thompson sought to downplay Cone's praise, insisting that he was only doing the role assigned to him. 

"Ginawa namin 'yung role sa isa't isa," he said. "May kaniya-kaniya kaming role doon sa team na ginampanan namin."

"Sabi nga ni coach Tim, mas importante 'yung goal namin as a team. So talagang pinagkaisa namin lahat ng role namin. So ayun, nakuha namin 'yung championship," he added.

He also gave plenty of credit to his teammates for helping him limit Newsome, while pointing out that their defense on Meralco import Allen Durham was also a team effort. 

Durham, who edged out Ginebra's Justin Brownlee for Best Import honors in the conference, averaged 23.8 points, 19.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game, but shot below 30% from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 4.4 times per game as well.

"Sinunod ko lang 'yung game plan ng mga coaches ko," said Thompson. "At the same time, sinasabi ng mga teammates ko na andiyan lang sila para sa akin, kasi pine-pressure ko si Newsome, and then 'yun nga, gusto namin siya drumive kasi andoon si Japeth (Aguilar) to protect the rim."

"So 'yun, total team effort talaga," he said. "Hindi ako babantay kay Newsome, kung 'di kami ang babantay sa kaniya, lahat kami. Kay Durham, kami ang babantay kay Durham. Kay New, kami ang babantay, hindi 'yung individual defense."

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