Thompson "excited" after getting Gilas invite

Scottie Thompson is ready to answer the national team call again. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Earlier this week, Coach Yeng Guiao bared that he wanted Scottie Thompson to join Gilas Pilipinas for the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers next month.

Asked for a reaction to the invite on Friday night, the six-foot-one Ginebra guard said, "Excited [but] at the same time, pressured din. Pero talagang iba yung pakiramdam na makasama doon na nagre-represent ng Pilipinas."

The call-up came just three weeks after he earned Finals MVP honors for the Barangay in their successful PBA Commissioner's Cup title bid, and he admitted that he could not handle the brand new blessing that he got.

"Sobrang nakaka-overwhelming. Nakaka-proud din sa sarili. At the same time, kailangang i-overcome lahat yung mga nangyayari sa akin kasi honestly ang bilis ng lahat from Finals MVP tapos call-up sa Gilas," Thompson continued. "Nagpapasasalamat lang ako nang sobra-sobra kay God sa opportunity na binigay sa akin."

This is not actually the first time Thompson represented the Philippines as he was part of Sinag Pilipinas, the predecessor of Gilas Cadets, that won the 2015 SEABA Championship and the SEA Games gold, but he is aware that he is now in an uncharted territory being part of the so-called "Gilas Elites".

"Iba yung magiging experience doon kasi lahat ng mga magagaling sa bawat team, andoon. Iba yung experience kasi dati, college lang kami para sa SEA Games. Ngayon, more on mga pro na ang kalaban natin," he continued. "I think, lahat naman deserving na makalaro sa Pilipinas, so kailangan lang talaga maglaro kami as a team."

Also, he will be outside the tutelage of Coach Tim Cone, but Thompson said that he is ready to embrace Guiao's system.

"Kailangan mong i-trust yung process ng team at ng bawat coach. Lahat naman, tama ang tinuturo ng coach. Nasa mga players na kung paano i-e-execute and i-trust yung process," Thompson further said.

On what he can offer to the table, Thompson answered, "I think for me, yung pinakamaibibigay ko para sa Pilipinas kung saka-sakali ay yung hustle ko, defense, more on energy. Sana makatulong sa team yung energy ko sa game."

If you take into consideration his near triple-double in a 96-84 Ginebra win against Columbian at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, where he made 10 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists while also adding two steals and one block in an impressive defensive outing, Thompson could indeed be of great help to the Nationals.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno