RICARDO Ratliffe played down his herculean effort for Star in its 108-99 win over San Miguel Beer in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal matchup on Monday night.
The Hotshots import came one rebound short of a rare 30-30 performance, scoring 33 points and hauling down 29 boards to help his team force a do-or-die game against the top-seeded Beermen for a spot in the semifinals.
“It was a team effort,” Ratliffe said. “We know that we have to win or else, we'll go home so we have to do what we have.”
Allein Maliksi and PJ Simon provided significant support that more than made up for the absence of injured key players James Yap and Alex Mallari.
“We had to go out and lay everything on the line,” Ratliffe. “That's what we tried to do and fortunately, we won the first one.”
Ratliffe best typified the Hotshots’ desire as he played almost the entire game, resting for a mere 10 seconds, on the way to resetting his personal career best by three rebounds.
“My previous high was 26 and I topped it tonight,” said the 6-foot-8 reinforcement, who had 10 offensive rebounds. “It was just being more aggressive on the offensive glass. That's really my forte and strength so I just try to make sure to go for every offensive rebound.”
Ratliffe, who registered 20 or more rebounds for the third time this conference, hardly found an answer to June Mar Fajardo, who tallied 24 points and 13 boards in 37 minutes.
“It's pretty hard (to defend him),” Ratliffe admitted. “He's a big guy and very skilled in the post. He's good.”
But the Hotshots had the last laugh, although they have to do it all over again in a sudden-death game on Wednesday.
“Basically, we have to do the same thing we did tonight: play very aggressive defense, finish in rebounds, run the floor, and our guards did a good job of getting open shots.”