FOR someone who has known Tyler Wilkerson since his college days, Chris Ross understands where the volatile San Miguel import is coming from.
The 6-foot-1 guard is not about to condemn Wilkerson for the falling out he had with the franchise, saying his former teammate at Marshall University is a fierce ‘competitor’ who just wants to win badly.
“He’s a competitor,” he said of Wilkerson, who parted ways with the Beermen at the most crucial time of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals following an outburst after a Game Two loss that saw him figure in an argument with coach Leo Austria and San Miguel officials.
“Everyone wants to win. Everyone hates losing especially when our goal is to win a championship,” said Ross, who played with Wilkerson at Marshall from 2006-2007.
Ross said Wilkerson has already apologized to the Beermen, the coaching staff, and team officials. He added having talked to the 6-foot-7 import personally about the matter and appeared to have finally accepted the fate that befell him in his first ever stint in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
“I don’t fault what he did. As I’ve said, he’s a competitor and he wants to win,” said Ross, who was the one who recommended Wilkerson to management as import along with another Marshall alumnus, Chris Lutz.
Ross revealed Wilkerson texted him and his teammates before and after Game Three, which the Beermen won, 104-98, to cut the series deficit to 1-2.
“He’s still our brother,” he curtly said.
Wilkerson, who will forfeit what could have been a Best Import award that was his for the taking, is set to leave the country on Friday, a day before his replacement AZ Reid arrives for another tour of duty for the Beermen.
Ross said the 27-year-old Wilkerson, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, is going back home in high spirits.
“He wants (us) to finish what he started,” Ross stressed. “We will continue to play for him.”