SCOTTIE Thompson sent the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings to the Philippine Cup Finals with a clutch three-pointer that broke the hearts of the Meralco Bolts in the sudden-death Game Five semifinals, 83-80, in the PBA Season 45 Philippine Cup 2020 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga on Friday night.
With the score tied at 80-all, the do-it-all guard Thompson took matters into his own hands as he knocked down a corner three-pointer off a pass from Prince Caperal to seal the game at 83-80 with 0.6 seconds left to play.
Thompson’s shot proved to be the biggest so far in the PBA “bubble” that sent the Gin Kings roaring back to the Philippine Cup Finals for the first time since the 2016-2017 season.
Meralco veteran Reynel Hugnatan hit a trey that tied the game at 80-all with 14 ticks left to play, forcing Ginebra coach Tim Cone to call a timeout to design the one last play.
The play was intended for Ginebra’s leading scorer Stanley Pringle but went to the hands of Thompson.
“That’s pure unselfishness right there. The play was designed for Stanley [Pringle] Stanley gave it up and passed it on to Prince [Caperal], and he passed the ball to Scottie [Thompson]. It’s just [an] unselfish play for the team,” said Cone, who’s entering his 45th Finals appearance and sixth for Ginebra.
Thompson flirted with a triple-double with 20 points, 12 boards and seven dimes in close to 39 minutes of action while Pringle wound up with a team-high 22 markers.
“Wala kasi. Unang-una talaga, pasalamat kami kay God, especially yung last shot na tinira ko. Tinira kuna kasi wala nang oras. Si God na ang naka-shot nun. Very thankful ako kasi sobrang tough ng Meralco,” said Thompson in a post-game interview.
Thompson said their hard work prior to the PBA “bubble” paid off big time for them.
“It was an amazing shot for Scottie. He deserves the shot and the recognition because he works very hard,” Cone said of Thompson.
The PBA’s winningest coach Cone has nothing but praise for Meralco for giving one helluva series.
“I really fell for Norman. He coached a tremendous series. His adjustments were tremendous. Meralco is just a great team, led by its leader Norman Black,” he said. “Really, [it is] a good team. I can’t give them a better compliment better than that.”
Ginebra will be facing the TNT Tropang Giga in the Philippine Cup Finals.
Also in a deciding win in Game Five, the Tropang Giga beat the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 91-81, to advance into the championship round.
Ray Parks Jr. scored 15 of his 25 points in the payoff period to lift the Tropang Giga above the Fuel Masters. Parks also had 10 rebounds and six assists as the TNT punched a ticket to the Finals with its second straight win against Phoenix.
“It’s good to be back in the finals. I must commend the players, all of them. They really stepped up,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
Ginebra and TNT will battle for the All-Filipino crown starting on Sunday, November 29.