IT was a situation all too familiar for Chris Ross. And there was little doubt he would thrive in it once again.
The San Miguel Beer playmaker showed he lived for sudden-death moments, delivering the biggest plays for the Beermen in their 103-99 win over Star in their quarterfinal matchup in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Ross scored four timely points that put the Beermen up for good while staying scrappy on the defensive end to lift his team to the semifinals - a scenario seemingly lifted from the Philippine Cup Finals against Alaska.
“We didn’t want to go home and get embarrassed and it kind of reminded me of the finals where our backs were against the wall in the last four games,” the Philippine Cup Finals MVP admitted.
“But we showed why we are champions and we showed our championship pedigree,” he was quick to add. “We made enough plays in the end to win the game.”
Ross finished with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals.
And his hustle was finally quantified as he registered seven of the Beermen’s 19 deflections, 11 more than that of the Aces – hustle stat the league started recording in these playoffs, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Ross said he wasn’t surprised by the eighth-seeded Hotshots taking them to the limit.
“In this conference, everyone was two games away, so it really didn’t matter if you were the eighth seed or the first seed,” Ross said. “And that team (Hotshots) right there, they’re a year removed from winning a grand slam.”
“They lost their coach and a player or two, but their core is intact and they know how to win and they know to turn on the switch when it comes to the playoffs and they showed it in this series,” he added.
“Luckily for us, we’re championship tested also.”