Ginebra glad to have both 2015 PBA Draft standouts Dela Cruz, Thompson

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 06, 2019 10:44 PM
Ginebra glad to have both Dela Cruz, Thompson
Ginebra debated between Scottie Thompson and Art Dela Cruz in the 2015 PBA Draft - now, they have both

Ginebra secured its future by drafting Scottie Thompson fifth overall in the 2015 PBA Draft.

Apparently, another draftee from then is looking like another key cog for the tomorrow of the Gin Kings.

Art Dela Cruz, selected four spots after Thompson, is now playing for the crowd favorites.

And on Saturday at MOA Arena, he was a big part of their convincing victory versus archrival Magnolia in Game 1 of their three-game "Quarterfinals Clasico."

Indeed, looking back, that 2015 PBA Draft may very well have laid the next phase of Ginebra's contention - even head coach Tim Cone said so. "Honestly, if you wanna go back a little bit in history, we actually debated whether to take Scottie or Art in the draft. We felt, at that point, that we needed another guard we could groom behind LA [Tenorio] so we went with Scottie," he said.

From there, both Thompson and Dela Cruz proceeded to put up stellar rookie seasons for their respective teams.

In early 2017, however, Dela Cruz suffered an Achilles injury that sidelined him for almost two years.

In the middle of that, the Gin Kings saw an opportunity to trade for their Option 1B back in the 2015 PBA Draft. "We got an eye on him for a long time. We liked his skills so when he got injured, we felt that was a good chance for us to get him," coach Tim shared.

He then continued, "We knew that we could be patient and let him get healthy and now, it's worked out for us."

In August 2017, Ginebra shipped Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo for Raymund Aguilar and Dela Cruz.

It still took time for the 6-foot-4 forward to get back to action after that, but in the ongoing 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, he was finally good to go.

And in the quarterfinals, a "Quarterfinals Clasico" no less, he turned in in his best game as of late with 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes of play. "We've been waiting patiently, trying to get him healthy and he looks healthy out there," his mentor said.

And so, Ginebra now has its Option 1A and Option 1B back in the 2015 PBA Draft.

That is nothing but a welcome development, says Thompson himself. "Natutuwa ako para sa kanya kasi yung hinintay niyang pagkatagal-tagal tsaka yung work niya sa practice, talagang nag-pay off. Sana, eto na yung simula ng future ni Art dito sa Ginebra kasi sobrang laking tulong niya sa amin," he said.

He then continued, "Maswerte kaming pareho na kaming nasa Ginebra. Para sa amin, ibibigay lang namin yung best namin para sa fans. Yun na yung kailangan naming motivation."


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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