SMB-Ginebra clash not a grudge match, says Chris Ross
Chris Ross says the Beermen are not playing revenge basketball. 

CHRIS Ross says San Miguel Beer is not reliving the recent past, insisting the Beermen never think about paybacks, as they face top rivals Barangay Ginebra Kings on Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup encounter at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

On the verge of capturing their second grand slam in franchise history after ruling the first two conferences last season, the Beermen saw their ambitious bid burst into flames in the Governors’ Cup where the Gin Kings eliminated them in the quarterfinals behind import Justin Brownlee.

But Chris Ross insists vengeance is not a theme for the Beermen in their rematch, thinking that it could be the other way around considering SMB conquered the last all-Filipino conference at the expense of the Gin Kings in the finals.

“We never think about payback,” Ross told ahead of the 6:45 p.m. matchup. “It’s a whole different team. They don’t have Brownlee out there and we don’t have our import, so it’s all-Filipino.”

“Maybe they’re the ones thinking about payback, because we beat them in the finals,” added the Finals MVP of that conference of their best-of-seven series that SMB won in just five games.

On Sunday, the undefeated Beermen aim to extend their winning streak to six games against a Gin Kings side that’s looking to arrest an alarming three-game skid that rendered their first two wins to waste.

“When the third conference comes, maybe we’ll bring it up, but I don’t think payback could be a motive for us,” Ross continued. “We just want to continue to try to play good ball and have people step up in the absence of Alex.”

Without the injured Alex Cabagnot, Brian Heruela delivered for the Beermen in their 107-93 win over GlobalPort last Wednesday, putting up 17 points, a career-high six steals, five assists, and two boards, against only two turnovers to put up the highest plus-minus among SMB players with a +25 in just 23 minutes off the bench.

“If we get that type of production from our bench and regular starters, then I think we’ll be fine,” Ross, who contributed six points, four boards, four assists, and two steals in 30 minutes, said.

The Gin Kings are playing their second game in three days, seeking to bounce back from an 87-82 loss to Phoenix last Friday.

GlobalPort (2-3) looks to recover from its loss to SMB and break a tie with Meralco as the Batang Pier and the Bolts face off earlier at 4:30 p.m.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos