IT’S not a matter of Chris Ross not having the heart to play through injury. It’s more of him fearing he'd be a liability to San Miguel Beer had he forced himself to come back despite nursing a hurting knee in the team’s PBA Governors Cup game against Barangay Ginebra.
“I wanted to go back out there, but I wouldn’t be a positive for my team,” said the Fil-Am guard as he walked out of the Mall of Asia Arena with a limp at the end of the Beermen’s 111-105 victory over the Kings in double overtime.
“So my trainer just decided to shut it down.”
Ross hurt his right knee in the third quarter and never returned to the 58-minute ballgame played before a crowd of 12,423 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The game was so intense it took its toll on several players, including Ginebra big man Joe Devance and veteran SMB forward Gary David.
The 34-year-old Devance initially joked it was old age when he had to be helped out on his way back to the Kings’ bench when the outcome of the match was already beyond their reach.
But he later admitted it was a case of cramps and hurting his hamstring.
“I caught a cramp out there at the end. But I’ll be fine, no big deal. It was a long game,” said Devance. “I couldn’t move. We were all pretty tight, we wasn’t expecting the game to go double overtime.”
Gary David was also a casualty for San Miguel as he hurt his ankle after LA Tenorio stuck his foot on the San Miguel wingman’s landing spot after a three-point try. David made the shot and got a bonus free throw as the Ginebra point guard was called for a flagrant foul 1.
The veteran wingman never returned.
“Gary also wanted to play just in case may mag-foul out sa mga wingman namin, pero nag-stick kami kay Marcio (Lassiter) and Ronald (Tubid) because they are really feeling the game,” said coach Leo Austria.
Ross finished with six points, two rebounds, and five assists as he was playing very well for the defending champions until the unexpected happened.
“He played really well in the first three quarters, kaya kailangan ko talaga siya,” Austria said about the Philippine Cup Finals MVP.
Ross said he’ll have the knee checked on Monday, and hopes it doesn’t have any major damage.
He admitted not having felt something like this before, although he believes it’s not as serious as an ACL injury.
Good thing in his absence, a lot of guys from the bench stepped up and helped the Beermen clinched their fourth win in five games for a share of second place with Mahindra, a game behind unbeaten TNT KaTropa.
“We got a lot of guys on the bench who was able to step up. Today it was Ronald (Tubid) who stepped up,” he said of the veteran guard out of University of the East who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds while playing 37 minutes.