Grand slam-seeking San Miguel Beer appeared in disarray early on in the conference but is slowly peaking and a big part of that resurgence is due to Chris Ross.
After a 0-2 start, Ross went into a full-on playoff mode. The 6-foot-2 veteran playmaker averaged 23.5 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 steals in the Beermen’s back-to-back victories against Rain or Shine and defending champion Barangay Ginebra, respectively.
“The playoff mode has to come early, and I just want to be aggressive for my team, look for my shots, but it’s a total team effort,” said Ross following SMB’s 107-103 escape on Ginebra on Sunday night, September 10 where he capped the game with 20 points, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals to help end the Gin Kings’ winning run.
Because of his heroics, the 32-year-old Ross is named as PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of Septmber 4-10. He bested Calvin Abueva of Alaska, Talk N’ Text’s Jayson Castro, and San Miguel teammates June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos for the weekly recognition.
After listing only four markers against Alaska in their out-of-town faceoff, Ross went back to the drawing board and vowed to step up his efforts in San Miguel’s remaining games in the Governors’ Cup. And step up he did as he buried five three-pointers versus ROS to lead SMB to a 103-96 victory. He didn’t stop there as he, along with Alex Cabagnot and new reinforcement Terrence Watson, pushed the pedal to the metal and halt Ginebra’s streak.
With its two straight wins, SMB ties TNT at fourth spot in the standings and keeps its hopes alive of reaping a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoff round. The Beermen takes a five-day respite before plunging back into action against the still winless Kia Picanto on Saturday, September 16.