DENIED for the second season of a first-ever PBA Finals stint, Ricardo Ratliffe paid the San Miguel Beermen the highest compliment by describing them as a team resembling the San Antonio Spurs.
“It’s hard to beat a team that’s kind of the San Antonio Spurs,” said Ratliffe after the Hotshots again came up short of making the championship round following a 109-102 loss to the Beermen Friday night in Game 4 of the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
“Everybody knows each other and they won champiohnships together,” added Ratliffe, whose 36-point, 17-rebound effort went down the drain as Star lost the best-of-five series, 3-1.
But the Star import admitted the Hotshots are the exact opposite of the Beermen as they have yet to mesh as a team.
With the exception of Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis, PJ Simon, Justin Melton, and Ian Sangalang, Ratliffe said everybody in the team is new, including coach Chito Victolero.
“We just got to mesh together as a team,” said the muscular import, whose rookie stint in the league a year ago was also rudely cut short by the Beermen in their do-or-die encounter for a seat in the semis of this same conference.
“Our team is basically new, even me,” said Ratliffe. “We could only look up to a team like that (San Miguel). And just look forward to being one in the future.”
“We’re still growing, we’re still trying to learn each other.”
But Ratliffe said the Hotshots had nothing to be ashamed of after giving the Beermen a damn good fight in the semis, the first three games of which were decided by an average margin of two points.
“The way they beat us, we can’t hang our heads,” he pointed out. “I’m proud of the guys. I felt they did a great job.”
Ratliffe finished the series averaging monster numbers of 32.7 points, 23.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He had highs of 44 points in a 110-111 Game Three loss and 35 rebounds in Game 2 which the Hotshots also lost, 77-76.
With an unfinished business left behind, the 28-year-old native of Hampton, Virginia vowed to be back for another tour of duty with Star next season.
And same as the first time he came over, the 6-foot-8 Ratliffe is looking forward to helping the Hotshots make the finals, and eventually, win a championship.
“That’s the goal. The goal every year is not only to make it, but to win the finals,” he said. “And I think we got the personnel and we got the coaching staff.”