By NIKOLE JAVIER
Scottie Thompson has had countless great moments inside the court, but on Monday, Feb. 27, he might just have had the biggest miss in his whole career following their 91-90 tight loss to Jordan on the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena.
The Gilas guard couldn’t sink at least one of the two key free throws that would have potentially steered the Philippines to a comeback win after being down by as much as 25 points in the early minute of the second quarter.
With 31.3 seconds to spare, Thompson, the reigning PBA Most Valuable Player, failed to deliver what he usually would all while under pressure.
“Biggest missed free throws sa career ko. But I'm gonna learn from this and sobrang dami kong nabigo na mga Pilipino, so masakit for me but I think ito 'yung best na reminder sa akin na I have to get better. Andon 'yung pressure. Kinakausap ko 'yung sarili ko na sana ma-shoot ko but ganon talaga,” said Thompson who scored nine points on a 4-of-7 shooting clip to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.
Despite falling short in their comeback, the rest of the Gilas team has got Thompson’s back as they refused to hold the loss against him alone.
The Filipinos took some time to step on the gas in the second half as Jordan made it rain threes in the first to create the separation, something that they attribute more to the tight loss.
“From the start doon talaga kami natalo eh. Naging flat ‘yung start namin but battled through it hanggang sa dulo para talagang mabigyan ng magandang laban and maging proud sa amin ‘yung mga kababayan namin. But we came up short and ‘yun nga sa missed free throws ko, posibleng manalo. Ang dami ko rin..’yung fouls ko down the stretch. I have to learn from this for sure,” he added.
A win would’ve given Gilas a much-needed morale boost and tied its Asian Qualifiers campaign together ahead of the country’s hosting of the basketball event this August.
However painful the loss might have been, the national team has chosen to stick together.
“Nandon sila sa likod ko kasi talagang we’re brothers, we have each other’s back so ‘yun nga, malaki ang maitutulong nito sa career ko. I have to be better and work on free throws. Free throws talaga win game and lose games,” Scottie said.
“Walang sisihan - Sabi ko nga, we’re brothers dito. So manalo kami, we stick together. Matalo kami, we stick together. So malaking bagay for me na andiyan sila, especially na ang dami kong nabigo na Pilipino. Good thing na dito na nangyari, hindi sa World Cup, hindi sa mas crucial na laro.”