Ross channels inner Lassiter in fiery Game 2 performance
MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel Beer had to go through the tougher route on its way to victory in Game 2 over Rain or Shine.
And it was Chris Ross who bailed the Beermen out.
The 34-year-old guard dealt the most damage by firing a team-best 34 points built on 10 triples to lead the Beermen’s 117-105 comeback win after being down by as much as 29.
The 41-point swing by San Miguel was the biggest in the league since Alaska’s 45-point turnaround 14 years ago.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria, who admitted he was awestruck with his charges’ fightback, said that he was even more impressed with the shooting of Ross, who has long been regarded as a defensive specialist.
“I cannot believe [what just happened], especially with Chris,” he told reporters shortly after the game that brought them to within a win of booking their 42nd Finals appearance.
“I feel like he channeled Marcio’s spirit—he became our shooter,” Austria said of his ward, who with all those long-distance shots, not only filled the void left by the injured marksman in Macio Lassiter, but also put him alongside the elite club of locals who made at least 10 in a game.
Ross, though, was amused with his aim, but not surprised.
“I put in a lot of work in my game. It’s never surprising when results come. The biggest thing in practice is trusting the work you put in,” he said of his performance that eclipsed a previous career-high of 31 points.
Not only did Ross script a sensational shooting performance that put him alongside the likes of Lassiter, Allan Caidic, Kenneth Duremdes, and Roger Pogoy, he was also able to respond to his buddy’s challenge.
“Actually, on my way here, I was texting with Marcio. He was just telling me, man, ’Bro, just shoot the ball, man. Trust your work and just shoot the ball,” Ross said. “So when you get a text like that from one of the best shooters ever in the history of the league, you do what he says. So I went out there and just shot the ball, man.”
“Luckily, I was able to make a few,” Ross said with a chuckle.
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