Throughout the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals, Scottie Thompson has been Ginebra's intangibles guy. Whenever players such as Justin Brownlee, Greg Slaughter, Joe Devance and LA Tenorio deliver masterful performances, Thompson has found ways to complement them.
In many ways, through his heart and hustle, he has helped make it possible for his teammates to enjoy the spotlight. But in a crucial Game 5, with some of his comrades struggling, it was Thompson's turn to star in the show.
The Ginebra guard had 20 points, 11 rebounds and three assists to power Ginebra to an 87-83 win and 3-2 series lead over San Miguel.
"Scottie had a great everything game. Unbelievable," Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone said. "From rebounds early in the game, to playing (Alex) Cabagnot all game long, to getting defensive rebounds down the stretch."
Getting rebounds over much bigger players has become ordinary for Thompson. In Game 5 though, he came through on the offensive end. Trailing 83-80 with 1:07 remaining, Thompson scored six straight points to push Ginebra ahead and seal the victory.
"I always try to be aggressive every time I step on the court. My teammates and coaches just kept telling me that if (San Miguel) leaves me open, I have to take the shot. That's what I did. Fortunately, I made them," Thompson said.
"I was just really lucky. My focus was on defense so those crucial shots I made were just really lucky."
Whether it was luck or skill, it was what Ginebra needed. The team now sits one victory from the championship.
Since joining the Barangay in 2015, Thompson has been a huge boost to the squad. He's become a favorite of the crowd, his coaches and teammates because of the effort he exhibits. That work ethic has led Cone to believe Thompson can get even better.
"I think that Scottie has become more and more of a complete player," said Cone, the winningest coach in the PBA. "He's going to be a 20-point scorer at some point of his career. He's going to have his eight to 10 assists per game, and will probably average around 12 to 14 rebounds."
Cone believes that sooner or later, Thompson will have a much bigger role in Barangay Ginebra. He also believes that when that time comes, Scottie will be ready.
"He reminds me of (Russell) Westbrook. I think he's going to end up playing like that eventually."