AS the reigning, three-time defending PBA Philippine Cup champion, Chris Ross and the rest of the San Miguel team are aware that just about every team will be going after them.
It’s just a matter of the Beermen being ready night in and night out.
“It’s gonna be tough because everyone’s after us. We won this conference three years in a row and everyone has beefed up their spots and try to come after us,” said Ross after the Beermen survived a pesky Phoenix Fuel Masters side, 104-96, to kick off their title defense on a winning note on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We know we’re gonna get everyone’s best shot every night, but we’re prepared for that,” added the two-time PBA Press Corps Defensive Player of the Year. “We’re ready for all comers, we’re ready for whatever those teams give us, and we’ll try to win as many games as possible."
Win No. 1 was already in the books in which Ross contributed 16 points, six rebounds, and nine assists in complementing four-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo (23), Alex Cabagnot (22), and Marcio Lassiter.
One major concern which Ross pointed out, though, is the schedule of games the defending champion have for the coming next week.
The Beermen won’t play again until after Christmas when they tangle with the Meralco Bolts at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Dec. 27, and then will have a 16-day break before plunging back into action on January 13 against TnT Katropa in Iloilo City.
“Three games in almost a month is not enough for us. We’re a rhythm team. So in the beginning, it’s gonna be rocky,” said the veteran Fil-Am.
“But as soon as we found our rhythm, I think we’ll be fine,” he said. “Like I always said, we play against ourselves out there. When we come out there, and everyone’s logged in and everyone’s on the same page, I think we’re a tough team to beat.”
The only consolation Ross will have with the long break is enjoying the company of his mother Virginia, who is currently on a holiday vacation in Manila and even watched his son play against the Fuel Masters at the Big Dome.
The Ross matriarch arrived in the country last week and spent five days in Clark. He departed for Manila on Sunday to watch his sonplay for the first time in three years.
“We have TFC at home (back in Texas), she gets up in the morning and watches every game,” Ross disclosed. “But it’s good to have her here live.”
“She’s really my number one fan and it’s good to have her here.”
The elder Ross certainly feels proud at what her son has accomplished as a player. He nonetheless will always be her baby.
“I always follow (him). I’m very proud. He’s my baby, he’s my youngest,” she said. “So I’m a very proud mother, right baby?”