‘Beam us up, Scottie’

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    SCOTTIE Thompson may be content to often be in the shadows, letting the spotlight fall mainly on his Ginebra teammates.

    But coach Tim Cone always takes notice and is always ready to draw comparisons between Thompson and another former prized guard of his.

    “The guy I always compare him to is Johnny Abarrientos, only because Johnny did so much during the game to impact it,” Cone said after the Kings scored a 96-79 win over Meralco last Wednesday at the start of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.

    “I mean he (Abarrientos) would do a couple of razzle-dazzle plays, and everybody goes ‘oooh and ahhh,’ but no one would remember, or notice, the other 45 different plays that he was impacting the game with. And that’s the same with Scottie,” added Cone.

    The 22-time champion tactician was prompted by yet another sterling all-around performance from Thompson in that game.

    Stanley Pringle led Ginebra with 19 points and Japeth Aguilar was his usual intimidating presence inside.

    All the while, Thompson did his usual thing – filling up the stats sheet to the tune of 13 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block.

    Those numbers did not stray much from his league-leading 6.4 dimes per game average as well as his 8.9 rebound norm that made him the top guard in the rebounding ranks.

    During his MVP year in 1996 while he was still playing for Alaska and under Cone, Abarrientos was putting up practically the same numbers of 15 points, 5.4 boards and 5.0 assists in a 71-game season.

    That fact was not lost on Cone.

    “(Thompson) does one or two things that are really ‘oooh and ahhh.’ But throughout the whole game, he is totally impacting with rebounding and his defense on (Chris) Newsome was awesome tonight,” offered Cone.

    Newsome still emerged with 13 points as chief backup to Allein Maliksi’s team-high 24 points. But the Kings’ defense anchored on Thompson was able to limit Meralco stalwarts Baser Amer and Bong Quinto to a combined 4 points on a pedestrian 2-of-19 clip.