June 25, 2024

NBTC: Justin Thompson scores game-winner as Top Flight Sports Canada capture Division 2 title

NBTC: Justin Thompson scores game-winner as Top Flight Sports Canada capture Division 2 title
Clutch genes seem to run in the blood of the Thompson family. Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

Justin Thompson came up big in the clutch as Top Flight Canada completed a come-from-behind win over Eco Green Makati to capture the NBTC division 2 championship on Sunday, March 24.

The brother of Ginebra star Scottie was relatively quiet offensively for most of the match, but delivered for the Canadian team when push came to shove, taking the 95-93 victory.

Thompson scored the layup off a graceful euro step with still 8.4 ticks remaining that proved to be the game-winner

In the ensuing play, Earl Anonuevo had the chance to tie the game but muffed a pair of free throws. 

With 2.6 seconds remaining, Thompson went to the foul line for a chance to shut the door on Makati but also botched both shots. Good thing Eco Green couldn’t come up with an open look after that.

Thompson finished with three points, three rebounds, and seven assists.

It was Ryan Garcia, though, who topscored for Canada with 20 points, including two triples in the extra period.

JC Espinosa and Joey Panghulan added 17 and 16 points, respectively, for Top Flight, which erased a 22-point deficit.

Top Flight slowly chipped away at that seemingly insurmountable lead in the third period.

With a suffocating defense, the Vancouver-based team went on a 12-1 tear to inch closer, 49-60. Joaquin Bautista canned a pair of freebies with 1:43 remaining in the third to further trim the gap to four, 63-67.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair from there.

“All I talked about was defense. I told them if we play tough defense theyre gonna start missing their shots and they did,” said Top Flight coach Nap Santos.

Russel Bayani paced Eco Green with 18 points and 15 rebounds. He also had five assists.