BIBOY Ravanes was candid enough to admit San Miguel Beer’s painful quarterfinal exit in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup served as a driving force of the team to beat Air21 in their first meeting in the Governors Cup Saturday night.
“Talagang well-motivated kami kasi ito (Air21) `yung nag-eliminate sa amin last conference,” Ravanes told Spin.ph, shortly after the Beermen’s 101-88 payback win over the Express on the road in Binan, Laguna.
A noted defensive player during his prime, Ravanes said beating the Express helped the Beermen restore their confidence, especially now that they are gearing up for the playoffs set to start next week.
“At least, bumalik na yung depensa namin. Eh kami kasi, kapag struggle kami sa depensa, naaapektuhan din kami sa opensa namin,” added the San Miguel mentor, whose team snapped a two-game losing skid.
The Express were best remembered for ousting the Beermen as the no. 2 seed in the mid-season tournament after enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
The soft-spoken San Miguel rookie coach singled out the return of Fil-Am guard Chris Ross as key to the team’s defensive resurgence against Air21.
Ross, who scored five of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, provided the energy the Beermen sorely lacked in the team’s last four contests.
“Si Chris Ross `yung factor, kasi siya `yung first line of defense namin,” said Ravanes.
“Actually, second practice lang niya (Friday). Saka dapat ima-manage namin `yung minutes niya, pero na-extend ng konti kasi nga humabol ang Air21.”
Ross, who missed four games due to a strained right calf muscle, added seven assists, two rebounds, and two steals in 24 minutes of play.
The victory gave San Miguel a small window of opportunity to barge into the Top Four as the Beermen tied the Express at 5-4.
For the moment, Ravanes said the team will watch the Alaska-Barako Bull game with interest on Sunday and the Rain or Shine and San Mig match on Monday at the last playdate of the eliminations.
A loss by Alaska and Rain or Shine gives San Miguel the no. 4 spot and the twice-to-beat incentive heading to next week’s playoffs.