Chris Ross is known to be a guy so unselfish that he’d rather play defense and dish out assists rather than rack up the points.
But on Sunday, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year veered away from his usual self and got himself going on the offensive end.
Against the bevy of Star guards, Ross registered a conference-high 19 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals to help San Miguel score the 103-97 victory, the Beermen’s third straight.
“It’s just that my teammates told me to be aggressive,” he said. “If I’m open, I’ll shoot it; if I see the lane, I’ll drive it. Luckily, my shots went in.”
But Ross was quick to disperse the credit after the Beermen drew significant contributions from all over the lineup.
“It’s not just me. It was a total team effort. Charles (Rhodes) had a beast game. Finally, he played the second half without fouling. Arwind (Santos) played amazing, June Mar (Fajardo) as well. Everyone played well. It’s tough when everyone out there is playing aggressive and the coaches just told me to look for my shot,” he said.
San Miguel shot 43-percent from the field, including a 10-of-30 clip from three.
With everyone clicking, it was no surprise that the Beermen easily fended off the Star rally late in the fourth quarter after Paul Lee cut the deficit to as low as four, 99-95, with 1:03 remaining.
“We’re a veteran team and we were able to withstand that run. That’s what we really pride ourselves on. If we have a big lead like that, no matter if they make a run, we stay composed,” he said.
Ross, though, is hopeful that San Miguel still has a lot to show for this conference.
“I hope that’s not true. Charles is getting acclimated and the coaches are still finding ways to use everybody and give confidence to our second group,” he said. “We don’t want to peak in the first three games. We want to peak later on and into the playoffs.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.