Scottie Thompson finally settling in with Gilas
Published on November 12, 2022

Scottie Thompson was in his element in Gilas Pilipinas Men’s impressive 74-66 victory over Jordan in the fifth window of FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers. 

As the starting point guard, he filled the stat sheet with eight points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and a steal. He was one of the catalysts of Gilas’ offense alongside Kai Sotto, Ray Parks, and CJ Perez. 

The veteran guard is relishing his second stint with the national team in the Asian Qualifiers after a subpar performance in his first go-around. 

“I think mas iba ngayon, mas exciting ngayon kasi kagaya ng sinabi ko sa teammates ko, last time kasi – first window – coming from vacation ako nung pinatawag. Halos kami lahat kasi hindi season ng PBA,” Thompson said as he totalled only six points, seven boards, and five assists in the two games versus Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. 

“I think mas kundisyon mga player, in top shape kasi from season ng PBA, madadala namin yung top shape namin dito sa window,” he went on. “Very exciting kasi yun nga, medyo nagkakasama na kami. Yung Monday practices namin malaking bagay sa amin coming into dito, siguro mas nag-gel yung team ngayon.”

Thompson has also been able to shine with the help of familiar faces on the bench. He is alongside Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone who is serving as an assistant, plus teammates Jamie Malonzo and Japeth Aguilar. That level of familiarity enables him to help his other teammates learn the ins and outs of the system. 

“Malaking bagay na kasama ko sila (Ginebra teammates) kasi yung samahan namin baka makatulong kami, para mabigay namin yung best namin para sa Pilipinas,” he said. “Minsan sinasabi ko rin sa kanila, especially on defense, kasi si Coach Tim nakatutok sa defense and yung mga fundamentals na gusto ni Coach Tim, so kahit papano naibibigay ko sa kanila, natutulungan ko mga teammates ko.”

Thompson admitted there has been an adjustment period playing internationally. The players are bigger and there are also FIBA rule differences to consider.

“Malaki talagang adjustment especially yung physicality so I think kailangan namin, especially ako more tough both ends – defense and offense – kailangan talaga malakas ka at yung pangangatawan mo dito. And then of course, yung decision-making mo, kasi no room for error dito sa international so iba talaga.”

Thompson met the challenge of being the primary playmaker head-on. He orchestrated the offense and found open teammates. And in signature Thompson fashion, he also led the team in rebounds, pulling down seven on the offensive end alone. He looked every bit like the PBA MVP that the country is proud of. But for the 29-year-old guard, being the best player hasn’t crossed his mind. Instead, he’s simply helping the national team succeed. 

“To be honest wala sa isip ko ngayon,” he said about being the reigning MVP. “Ang main point ko talaga is makatulong ako sa team. Syempre malaking opportunity at sobrang blessed na nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na makapaglaro para sa bayan kasi not all players nabibigyan ng opportunity. It’s something special as a player na dadalhin ko sa career ko.”

Thompson and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas are set to take on Saudi Arabia on Monday at 12:00 AM (midnight) Philippine time.