Chris Ross says long break only made SMB hungrier in quest for grand slam
Chris Ross says the Beermen are raring to get going after a three-week break. Jerome Ascano

CHRIS Ross welcomed the long break that he said not only strengthened the bond at the San Miguel Beer camp, but also renewed the team’s hunger in its quest for a rare PBA grand slam.

The Beermen, who are a championship away from their second Triple Crown in franchise history after ruling the first two conferences, last saw action on August 4 when they lost to Star, 104-98 – their first in there games in the Governors’ Cup.

And they finally take the court again on Friday in a matchup against GlobalPort.

“The three weeks was really good for us as far as coming together a lot of more as a team,” Ross said in a chat with after practice on Thursday. “We got to rest our bodies. We got how it feels to lose and have a break, and be hungry again, and come back wanting to play again.”

“Imagine if we were three and O coming from the break, everyone’s on a high horse, and not really taking practice seriously,” he added. “But I feel like the loss we had kind of brought us back down and let us refocus on certain things we didn’t do in our last game that resulted in a loss.”

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The Beermen had a three-day team-building session last week starting on Thursday at Pradera Verde wake park in Lubao, Pampanga starting Thursday, before ending it with a tree-planting activity on Saturday morning.

“It was fun,” Ross said. “There’s not a lot of times where you get to – even though we see each other every day here practice – it’s rare that you get to sleep with your teammates in a situation like that and get to know them like what they do at night, what they do during the day, and stuff like that.”

The Beermen, though, can’t wait to get back in action, especially after that loss to their sister squad in the absence of reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo.

“It’s (long break) terrible, man. It was awful,” Ross said with a smile. “I mean it was good to kind of let your body rest, but we’ve only played three games this conference, especially our last game we lost, so we’ve been thinking about it for three weeks. Everybody’s just been ready to play.”


And the reigning Defensive Player of the Year is relishing the task of facing a Batang Pier side led by Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.

“It’s always a tough challenge going against those two guys,” Ross said as he teams up with Alex Cabagnot in their guard matchup. “A lot of people compare our backcourt and their backcourt as two of the best in the league, so it’s fun to watch for the fans and it’s also fun for us to play them.”

“They beefed up their lineup a little bit,” he added. “They traded for Sean Anthony. They made some free-agent signings. They’ve tweaked some things here and there, playing Mick (Pennisi) a lot more, Mike Cortez off the bench, so it’s always a tough team to play.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos