San Miguel Beer is entering the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs with a head of steam, having won its last four games while getting two of its old, reliable hands—June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo—the needed time to be 100 percent for the tough grind.
Even with the streak and with almost all hands able and on deck, Chris Ross believes that he and the Beermen aren’t assured of anything.
Waiting to claim the scalp of the No. 5 Beermen in the quarterfinals is No. 4 Converge, which has made heads turn using a cutthroat, breathless—and effective system—put in place by its new coach, the seasoned varsity tactician, Aldin Ayo.
“Definitely a challenge. [Their game] is something we haven’t seen. [Ayo] is coaching their guys crazy, their import (Quincy Miller) is good and the locals are playing well so it’s going to be tough for us,” Ross told the Inquirer.
“We [have also been] trying to work new guys into our lineup, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us—but one that we’re going to be ready for,” he added.
A defensive whiz who has helped the vaunted franchise to nine PBA crowns, Ross has been through the club’s recent glory years and through its days at the backseat.
After a gilded run in the Philippine Cup, the league’s centerpiece tournament, Ross already knows half of what San Miguel should be doing once their best-of-three race with the FiberXers gets going this week.
“Having fun and sharing the basketball and sticking to the game plan. And as long as we keep doing that—and we’re healthy—we’ll be fine,” he said.
Fajardo, the Beermen’s cornerstone and six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP), played in the last three games and has hardly shown any ill effects of a procedure to repair an injured throat.
Romeo, who is the reigning Finals MVP, has also logged in a game in his comeback—and was actually efficient—scoring 12 points in just 16 minutes against Meralco last Friday. That was his first game in more than nine months. INQ
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