STA. ROSA, Laguna - The unstoppable force met the immovable object on Sunday when seven-footers PJ Ramos and Sam Deguara faced off.
But at the end of an ill-tempered and highly physical battle between the two ABL giants, it was Ramos who wore the bigger smile after leading San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to an 88-76 victory over Hong Kong Eastern.
"You know I was just playing my game," said Ramos, who thoroughly outplayed Deguara in the affair. "I don't worry about no player, no team. I just want to win the game and this championship."
The collision course was so anticipated that the moment both stepped on the court, the fans in Sta. Rosa immediately cheered their hearts out.
And the Maltese giant wasted no time introducing himself to the Puerto Rican behemoth, pushing him out of bounds in the first possession of the game, a prelude to what would be a very physical affair.
"He was trying to get under my skin," said Ramos. "But he's got to do a lot better than that. He tried, but you can see it in the box scores. You saw my points and my rebounds."
The Alab center pumped in 18 points, 19 rebounds, and six assists against Deguara's mark of seven points, 12 boards, and five blocks.
But if you thought Ramos was fine with Deguara's antics, you're wrong as he did not let his rival get off the hook, dishing off some spicy words and sharp looks especially in the latter parts of the duel, where the HK Eastern giant knocked Renaldo Balkman to the ground with a nasty pick.
"Things got heated up at the end of the game. He almost injured Balkman, so as one of the leaders of the team, I got to protect my players," Ramos explained. "Sometimes he plays dirty, but I'm a dirtier person. I'm not even worried about it."
At the end of the day, the most important numbers for Ramos are 10-2 (Alab's league-best win-loss record) and 9-0 (Alab's record at home).
"Everybody knows what I do. I've been playing professionally for 19 years now. Everybody knows what PJ Ramos do. I'm not an ordinary big guy, I can play inside and outside. I just want to keep working on my game and I'm just trying to give the fans a show," he said.