CHRIS Ross admitted he was trying to send a message to just one Magnolia player – and not the entire team – when he taunted the Hotshots bench late in San Miguel Beer’s 92-77 win in Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals last Sunday.
After getting a steal while in a middle of a passing lane late in the fourth quarter, the SMB star playmaker faked a pass to the Hotshots bench twice before bringing the ball to their court to run their play.
A few minutes later, Hotshots reserve big man Rodney Brondial hit him on the back, making it look like harmless blind pick.
That was just one of the times Ross felt he was on the receiving end of a dirty play during the game.
“Whatever he (Brondial) wants to do, it’s up to him,” Ross told SPIN.ph after SMB practice. “I guess it’s part of the game, but I’m sure the refs will have a close eye on him this coming game. I got hit a few times last game that I thought were cheap shots.”
“And maybe they took offense to what I did to them, but it wasn’t to their team, it was to one specific guy that I felt did a cheap shot on me,” he added. “I was looking for him, but I guess the whole bench got mad at it, so it wasn’t to them.”
Asked if he cared to mention the Hotshots player who hit him, Ross declined.
“Nah, he knows who he is,” the two-time all-Filipino Finals MVP said. “I guess you’re a team, so you stick up to your brother. If it was my team, I would do the same thing. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
“Like I said, the refs know what’s at stake coming up, and they’ll have an eye out,” he added. “As long as it’s basketball, and we’re making basketball plays, I’m fine, but if they want to get dirty, that’s on them.”
“They’re probably hurting themselves more than they’re trying to hurt me, so we’ll see how it goes,” he continued.
Ross, still recovering from a thigh injury, is bracing for another even more physical matchup in Game Three on Easter Sunday when the Beermen try to grab the lead in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s going to be a battle,” the 33-year-old Filipino-American point guard said. “That team, no matter what game it is, they’re going to keep fighting to the end. We’ve played them three times already and it’s been a battle. We expect more of that in Game Three.”
“We’ll be ready for whatever they throw at us,” he added. “We know they’ll try to get a little more physical and try to speed the game a little bit more, so we’ll try to control the pace and play at the pace that we want to play at. It’ll be my job, Alex’s job, and Marcio’s job, we’ll try to keep them as uncomfortable as possible.”