September 11, 2017

San Miguel can count on Ross when it matters most

Since the grand slam-seeking San Miguel Beer dropped its last two games, Fil-Am playmaker Chris Ross has been in playoff mode.

The 6-2 Ross averaged 23.5 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and the same number of steals to lead SMB to back-to-back wins over Rain or Shine and the streaking 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," Ross said, whose scintillating effort in the Beermen's last two games earned him the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of Sept. 4-10.

The 32-year-old Ross bested Alaska's Calvin Abueva, TNT's Jayson Castro and San Miguel Beer teammate June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos for the weekly citation.

Just a week after scoring only 4 points and turning the ball over 5 times in San Miguel's 90-79 loss to Alaska in Pampanga, Ross took it upon himself to get better in the Beermen's remaining games in the Governors' Cup.

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And he did just last Wednesday against Rain or Shine when he knocked down five triples on the way to scoring a personal conference-best 27 points to carry San Miguel to a 103-96 win.

Four days later, Ross connived with Alex Cabagnot, new import Terrence Watson, Santos and Fajardo as the Beermen halted the Barangay Ginebra Kings' 7-game winning run, 107-103. He finished the game with 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals to deal a reality check on the Kings, who nonetheless, remain at top spot with their 7-2 card.

The two victories vaulted San Miguel to a tie with TNT at fourth spot, reviving its top 4 hopes that rewards twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs.

San Miguel takes a five-day break, before returning to action on Saturday when it tangles with winless KIA at the Mall of Asia Arena.