Halftime tongue-lashing from coaches sparked SMB turnaround to force Game 7, says Ross
The Beermen's swarming defense shackled Kelly Williams and the Texters in the second half. Jerome Ascano

CHRIS Ross admitted San Miguel Beer needed a tongue-lashing from the coaching staff and management at the half on Saturday night to turn it on in the second half against TNT Katropa and force a sudden death in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.

On the edge of seeing their two-year title reign in the all-Filipino conference come to an end, the Beermen were staring at an eight-point deficit after two quarters, before they turned it around in the second half to coast to a 104-88 win in Game Six.

“We kind of got a thrashing from the coaches and the bosses at halftime, so that kind of woke us up,” Ross said after the game.

The Beermen still couldn’t find their groove as they went down by 12 points early in the third quarter until RR Garcia sparked the turnaround by scoring all but two of his seven points in the period, conspiring with Arwind Santos.

June Mar Fajardo  and Alex Cabagnot took over in the payoff period as the Beermen suddenly established their own sizeable lead that they didn’t relinquish.

“That’s the beauty of our team. We have so many weapons,” Ross, who orchestrated the SMB offense with aplomb, said. “RR played…and then June Mar played well. We just came out in the third quarter with, I mean our backs were against the wall, so we just put it all out there.”

[See Fajardo leads way as SMB forces semis sudden death with TNT]

Nothing motivates SMB better than simply reminding the Beermen of the “Beeracle” where they overcame a three-game deficit in the last all-Filipino conference finals against Alaska.  

“If anything, it just gives us confidence,” Ross said. “It’s kind of similar to Game Four of the finals (vs Alaska) when we’re down and we had to crawl back.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

“Just like I said before, our team, we’ve been through everything, so any situation you put us in, we’ve been in it,” he added. “So we don’t panic, and we just talk to each other and say, ‘hey, man, let’s turn it up, let’s go, and let’s play.’ It just works out for us, man.”

Now, the defending champion Beermen have dragged a worthy adversary in the Texters to a Game Seven on Monday night.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos