While Scottie Thompson managed less than 11 minutes on the floor in Gilas Pilipinas' 81-73 loss to Iran on Thursday, his play was one of the bright spots during their 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier match.
Thompson finished with five points, three rebounds, and three assists while adding a block and a steal in the little time he was on the court. In terms of efficiency, he was second in the team behind Christian Standhardinger.
The young guard isn't entirely new to international basketball -- having won the gold medal with the Gilas cadets in the 2015 SEABA and SEA Games -- but facing Iran was a definite upgrade in competition for Thompson in his first national team call-up.
"I've been excited. I know the expectations are really high for him. It's his first ever," said Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone who was the part of the panel covering the game alongside Magoo Marjon and Andy Jao. "It's one thing to do it in the PBA, at home, and it's another thing altogether to do it on the international stage. It builds on your confidence.
"I just think he's going to blossom and bloom with this kind of attention he is getting. This is something he's always wanted. I think that his uncommon energy and ability to do the other things is just what the national team needs because it's usually a team of superstars."
In a team with shooters, slashers, and big men, Thompson tried to do the dirty work. He got rebounds and set up his teammates while only taking shots when he needed to.
"Scottie has great court vision. He'll see you open, before you know you're open," Cone said about his guard's passing ability.
But it was his uncanny knack for getting rebounds against much bigger players what had Filipino basketball fans eagerly awaiting his debut.
"He'll do all the little things, do all the work that really elevates a national team. Those little things add up and equate to winning. That's why he's helped win championships for Ginebra," he expounded. "He'll fit the national team like a glove but it's a two-way street. He'll have a big impact on the national team and the national team will have a big impact on him."