First Gilas practice gives Chris Ross butterflies: ‘I don’t even get that in Game 7 of finals’
MANILA, Philippines—It’s not everyday that Chris Ross finds himself on pins and needles heading into practice.
Last Monday was one of those rare times.
“Just driving here I was nervous. Just driving here I got butterflies in my stomach and I don’t even get that when I’m playing in Game 7 of the finals,” said Ross, a national team first-timer, said after the Philippine team pool’s first practice in preparation for the Southeast Asian Games. “It’s just a normal game for me.”
“But now, just driving here it was a nervous feeling that I had but after the meeting that we had and we put the basketball on the floor, it was right back to basketball so it’s just a blessing to be here with these group of guys. It’s a blessing to be here.”
The San Miguel Beer guard is part of the all-pro 15-man pool which includes six players from Ginebra’s core and three other Beermen in June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger and Marcio Lassiter.
The 34-year-old Ross also joined the likes of LA Tenorio and Jayson Castro as the veteran backcourt players on the squad.
“There’s a lot of experience in here, there’s a lot of championships won, there’s a lot of years put in. I feel like we could possible be one of the better national teams that have been put together,” Ross said of the team’s composition.
More than anything else, Ross is best known for what he brings on the defensive end which has largely contributed to the Beermen’s eight PBA titles.
With a team loaded with offensive firepower, Ross knows his role is to do what he does best.
“Defensively is where he wants us to set our calling our card on and he wants us to be a really, really good defensive team. He wants us to be a great defensive team but he knows in the short amount of time that we have to prepare, we probably won’t get to be a great defensive team but if we can be a really, really good defensively then we can make some noise in this tournament,” he said.
“Everybody knows what I do defensively. Coach Tim has a little different philosophy than what I’m accustomed to but if you’re a defender, you’re defender and I’ll try to star in that role and be the best I can be for this team.”