ALEX Cabagnot hopes backcourt partner Chris Ross could pick up from where he left off the last time as San Miguel tries to take the driver’s seat against Alaska in Game Three of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot Ross was intensity personified in Game Two of the title series after instigating the Beermen’s fourth quarter surge that saw him fire 10 of his 12 points to power the team to a rousing 100-86 win.
Cabagnot stressed Ross’ game-changing plays in the pivotal fourth rubbed off on the rest of the team as the Beermen tied the best-of-seven showdown at 1-1.
The veteran point guard said San Miguel needs all it can from his Fil-Am back-up for the remainder of the series.
“Chris played really, really well. He played great defense. And we know Chris is a defensive player naman talaga but in this game (Two), he was assertive on offense which is good because whatever it is you can bring out in the Finals gawin mo lang,” said Cabagnot, who personally cheered Ross and the Beermen during the fourth quarter at the bench.
For his part, the 29-year-old Ross knows that the only way to beat Alaska is for the Beermen to increase their level of intensity and match the Aces’ physicality.
“It’s the Finals. You can’t expect anything else. Two teams trying to win the championship, you just have to match their physicality,” said Ross.
At the same time, Ross stressed the importance of not lowering the Beermen’s guard, knowing the Aces are capable of bouncing back strong at any point in the Finals the way they did in the series opener.
“We just need to keep playing and have our intensity high. We have to bring that (intensity) for 48 minutes, because in Game One, we brought it to just 24 minutes,” he added, referring to San Miguel’s 88-82 overtime loss after squandering a 22-point first quarter advantage.
Cabagnot readily agrees with Ross, saying he expects Alaska to come out with its A-game in a bid to regain control of the series.
“It’s gonna be a dog fight for sure, but we’re gonna just have to prepare, get our rest, and sana tuloy tuloy na.”
Game Three is set on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Game time is at 5 p.m.