|"You can put all the work you want in practice, but if you don't trust it when the time comes, there's no point to the work you put in," says Chris Ross on his hot shooting in Game 3 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz|
By Ricky Manliguis
QUEZON CITY— San Miguel guard Chris Ross knew the moment Renaldo Balkman put an elbow on him with 25 seconds left in the first half that something bloody would come out of it.
“I knew right away I had a gash. I look at it and I knew how bad it was with the way I felt,” said Ross in a post-game interview following Game 3 of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Wednesday night.
"I just couldn't stop the bleeding. It's so big, it's so deep, and it's bleeding non-stop. But as far as pain goes, there is no pain," he added.
But the deep wound hardly mattered as the 6-foot-1 guard from Texas put on a shooting spree, scoring 23 points on seven triples in the defending champ’s masterful 132-94 win over Barangay Ginebra.
Ross teamed up with Balkman in a blistering third-quarter assault that turned a 53-51 first half lead into a rout that gave the repeat-seeking Beermen a 2-1 series lead. He had three triples in that run.
Aside from the points, Ross also had seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals in almost 36 minutes of playing.
His outburst was somehow a bounce-back from his so-so Game 2 performance where he failed to score while attempting just one field goal.
"I prepared for that yesterday (Tuesday). I took a lot of shots. I knew that they're gonna challenge me to take shots today," he later said. "So I just stepped out there, and shot with confidence. I knew we were shooting the ball well early, and my teammates kept passing me the ball."
Ross also described his performance as a “reverse Lebron James moment,” referring to an incident where James lost his headband but still led the Miami Heat to victory during the 2013 NBA Finals.
"I don't know if y'all remember LeBron (James) a couple of years ago. He was wearing a headband and he took it off, and he had a great game," said Ross. "So this is like the reverse, and I love it."
Ross has been known in his PBA career as a steady shooter whenever the need arrives, especially in the finals.
"It's just a statement that I live by – 'Trust your work'," said Ross. "You can put all the work you want in practice, but if you don't trust it when the time comes, there's no point to the work you put in. So that's a big slogan I'm in on, trusting the work you put in."
With the game now over, Ross then focused his attention to another thing: to go fetch his mother and nephew after the game.
“I’m gonna pick her up first from my house and we’re gonna go to the ER so she could hold my hand," Ross jokingly said.