Scottie Thompson was inconsolable after missing two crucial free throws with Gilas Pilipinas down by 1 against Jordan, 90-91, and the game clock down to 30 seconds.
The 29-year old reigning PBA Most Valuable Player grabbed the rebound off a miss from long distance by Justin Brownlee and was fouled while attempting a putback. He was awarded two freebies but missed both. The Filipinos still had a chance to steal the game but Ray Parks missed a potential game-winning jumper just as time expired.
Gilas lost the game and closed out the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers with a 6-4 win-loss record.
“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,” said Thompson who finished the game with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and a steal in 30 minutes of play.
“Andon ‘yung pressure. Kinakausap ko ‘yung sarili ko na sana ma-shoot ko but ganon talaga,” he added.
Despite being down by as much as 25 early in the match, the Filipinos never lost composure and managed to equalize the score at 81 after a triple by Parks halfway into the payoff period. Costly misses, however, sealed the national team’s fate.
“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,” explained Thompson.
“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,” added the 7-time PBA champion.
Thompson praised his Gilas teammates who stood by him and had his back despite of his shortcomings.
“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,” said Thompson.
“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.”