Scottie Thompson was like a magician on the court this past week. Not because he hit impossible shots, a la Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes in billiards, A.K.A The Magician, but due to the disappearing act he pulled.

Here’s what Thompson put up in Gilas Pilipinas’s four games:

Vs. Dominican Republic

  • 19 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 4 fouls, 2/3 FGs

Vs. Angola

  • 12 minutes, 0 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 0/2 FGs

Vs. Italy

  • 3 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 0/1 FGs

Vs. South Sudan 

  • 7 minutes, 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 0 fouls, 0/0 FGs

In case you’re wondering, those numbers equate to a horrendous 1.0 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.2 turnovers per game on 10.2 minutes of action. It’s like a classic stat line from the ‘bad’ version of Ben Simmons, but much, much worse.

Things become even more mind-blowing when you remember that Thompson won PBA Most Valuable Player in 2021 and has been among the elite two-way guards in the league ever since he debuted in 2015.

Good ol’ ‘Skati,’ as some would fondly pronounce his name, is one of Barangay Ginebra’s most beloved players of all-time, regardless of age bracket, which is saying a lot considering the team’s rich history, but he may be due to some criticism with how he performed in a big stage. His trademark hustle was simply nowhere to be found as he steadily became a liability, one play after the other.

An unplayable starter

Thompson began a starter in the World Cup against the Dominican Republic, and while he continued to do so in the ensuing contests, it became clear that he was unplayable. The standard looks and shots he was getting in the local league weren’t there, thus rendering his offense into nothingness, and if that wasn’t enough, his defense were ineffective too. He was seemingly slow, and other guards were able to bully him while attacking the basket, while his gambles in the passing lanes were off and he would often foul as guys went by him off-the-dribble or off-ball. Then, to top it off ever so nicely, he wasn’t protecting the ball. Here’s how bad it got: across four outings, his nine combined turnovers were more than the total points (4), rebounds (6), or assists (7) he posted.

There’s not much to say with that. It’s a struggle few could’ve predicted as it was so astronomically awful on both ends.

Bouncing back

The hope for international glory is gone yet again. For Gilas, and especially Thompson perhaps, the aim now is to redeem his play in the PBA stage, where he can thrive and showcase his style as always – maybe get some confidence back, just in time for the next international tournament. He and the Gin Kings are always stacked, so getting a championship is always constant possibility.

After that, he’ll likely be plugged back in the Gilas Pilipinas roster, gunning for qualifying berths and keeping the dream alive.