THE PBA’s top defensive player savors the opportunity to take on Asia’s best point guard as his top assignment in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals between San Miguel Beer and TnT Katropa.
As expected, Chris Ross has been delegated to cover Jayson Castro on the defensive end for the duration of the best-of-seven series. And he’s quick to admit the job is in no way easy.
“It’s tough, man,” he said at the end of Game One of the semis Wednesday night, which the two-time reigning champion won, 111-98. “It’s always tough guarding Jayson. Best point guard of Asia for a reason.”
Castro did finish with a game-high 27 points on 11 of 17 shooting and had four rebounds, and eight assists in 31 minutes of play coming off the bench.
Ross described the experience as ‘something fun.’
“We talked on the court. Whenever something happens, he says, ‘Good defense,’ or ‘Good play.’ It’s a good battle.
“It’s good for both of us. He’s one of the best offensive players and I’m one of the best defenders. It just makes both of us better.”
Ross also did his share in the win that gave San Miguel a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, finishing with only five points but getting four rebounds and 10 assists across his name in 31 minutes of play.
“It’s good to get the win,” said the Fil-Am guard, who was named Finals MVP in last year’s all-Filipino conference when the Beermen battled back from a deep 0-3 hole to win the title at Alaska’s expense.
While the match-up against Castro is intense, Ross said he doesn’t engage the TnT playmaker in any trash talk during the game, or at least not during the series opener.
“It’s all business man. Jayson is a good guy. And we just leave it at that,” he said. “I like his game and I respect his game. And I believe we have respect for each other.”