12 July 2015

Imagine Hodge and Thompson Running the Wings

Earl Scottie Thompson
If the Meralco Bolts wants to get a few arsenal in their running game to complement the athleticism of Cliff Hodge and Jared Dillinger, there are no better player to pick in the draft than Earl Scottie Thompson.

The native of Digos, Davao del Sur tried his luck in Manila way back in 2010 after being offered a scholarship by Perpetual Help. Six years later, he's one of the best collegiate players in the land.

The 21-year old received the Most Valuable Player trophy in the 90th NCAA basketball tournament in simple awards rites at the MOA Arena in Pasay City last October 2014 after coming through with the most complete performance of the season.

So complete, in fact, that Thompson posted a pair of triple-double efforts this year and placed in the top 10 in almost every statistical department possible in powering the Altas to a third straight Final Four stint.

In all, Thompson averaged 17.07 points (fourth-best), 11.36 rebounds (fifth), 5.50 assists (tied for second), 1.64 steals (seventh) and almost a block a game.

He was also credited as the hero in the second game to lead Hapee Fresh Fighters to the 2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup championship over the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, 93-91, last 19 February 2015. February 19, at the Ynares Sports Arena. Thompson finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals but it was his overtime performance that earned him praises from his coach.

"Scottie saved the day for us," Hapee head coach Ronnie Magsanoc said after the game as his team celebrated on center court. "Ganun ka-simple." (It's that simple.)

After the game went back-and-forth and with 27 second left, Cagayan led by one, Thompson took over. He stole the inbound pass from top draft prospect, Moala Tautuaa and converted a wide-open lay-in to put his team up by one.

Not long after, he stole the ball again from Aly Austria and earned a trip to the foul line. Though he missed both charities, an offensive board by Ola Adeogun garnered a foul from Cagayan, and he made one free throw to extend his team’s lead to 93-91.

With five seconds left, the Rising Suns had Don Trollano take a corner 3-ball to win the game, but Thompson came from behind and swatted the ball, which landed subsequently in Adeogun’s hands.

"Before he took the shot, I just leaped and hoped that I could block it," Thompson said in Filipino after the game.

It would be fun to watch if the Bolts can get Thompson and pair him with Hodge.Just imagine both players running the wings in transition. Good luck na lang sa kalaban nila.

There are, however, several downsides in picking Thompson early. One of which is that the Bolts may miss out on a possible quality point-guard, a player that they badly needed since Mike Cortez is not getting younger.

Second, Thompson has a lingering back problem way back in 2013, which sidelined him for most of the NCAA season. It is not certain how serious is that injury of if ut has a good chance of recurring.

Lastly, measured at 6-feet, Thompson may have problems matching against player at the two-spot. He could transition to the point-guard position, but that could be a big risk.

However, if the Bolts wants an explosive player, Thompson could be it.

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