Certified MVP Scottie vows to keep polishing his game to help Ginebra

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Scottie Thompson (in red) continues his meteoric rise for Barangay Ginebra. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Scottie Thompson has put together quite a basketball resumé at 29 years old.

The tireless playmaker has blossomed into a national team fixture, a seven-time PBA champion, a two-time Best Player of the Conference and a Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) and, most importantly, a season MVP.

Thompson also figured prominently in two of the club’s extraordinary titles recently. He was integral in the crowd darlings’ run to the 2020 Philippine Cup crown and was a key in the Gin Kings’ recent Commissioner’s Cup championship.

“I’ve got a lot of special milestones. I feel like I’m special!” he told the Inquirer in Filipino with a chuckle. “It feels good. Winning a championship always feels special.”

“You know once you win one, nothing else goes through your head but to help your team get more. It’s addicting,” he said.

Thompson knows that there’s a certain lifestyle required to sustain such an “addiction.” And he’s willing to do whatever it takes to be able to do just that.

“I know I’ve got a lot more to work on my game. I think I’m still far from [my best]. I need to improve, especially on offense,” he said.

Thompson’s trek toward an optimal form resumes on Feb. 5, when Ginebra kicks off its title defense of the Governors’ Cup.

His first hurdle, interestingly, is Rain or Shine, which is coached by Yeng Guiao whom the Digos City native once played for at Gilas.

“I’m not surprised [with how he is now]. Even then, when he was with me at Gilas, I knew that at some point he will improve his game and get better” the fiery Guiao said in a separate interview with the Inquirer. “I’m not surprised that he’s now the MVP.”

“I told him way back that if he could work on his outside shot, he could gain a really big asset,” Guiao recalled. “He has massively improved on that.”

There was no moment that better illustrated Thompson’s shooting touch better than during Ginebra’s playoff run in that 2020 All-Filipino showcase. Using his refined shooting, he buoyed the Gin Kings past Meralco in the decider of the Final Four, and then again versus TNT in the Finals.

“I remember telling him … if he’s able to complete his game with three-point shooting, he’d be so tough to defend,” Guiao said while shaking his head. “I’m not sure if I’d blame myself for how hard he has become to defend.”  Guiao feels there’s little left for Thompson to polish.

“I guess from here—of course, you do not stop improving your skills. I guess it’s now just his decision-making and maturity. That’s where his growth is headed.”

Thompson said he is always ready to tweak to his game.

“I guess if there’s just one thing that will never change, and that is giving my best,” he said. INQ

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