MANILA, Philippines – All throughout the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, San Miguel point guard Chris Ross was the biggest thorn on the side of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
Ross' ability to affect the floor on both ends frustrated Ginebra to no end, especially as they already had to deal with SMB center June Mar Fajardo, as well as Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and Arwind Santos.
Though Ross is best known for his defense, he hit enough of his shots – especially his triples – in the Finals series to make Ginebra pay for leaving him open.
Ross capped a spectacular Finals with an all-around performance of 12 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, and six steals in their title-clinging 91-85 Game 5 win on Sunday.
"Chris played amazing," said Ginebra guard Sol Mercado, who was no slouch himself with 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the losing effort.
Mercado acknowledged that Ginebra's game plan was to make Ross "beat us," as they keyed their defense on San Miguel's other players, paying special attention of course to Fajardo.
"Pretty much with them, you have to pick your poison," Mercado said of the Beermen. "And our poison was Chris."
"That was our game plan – to make him beat us. Hats off to him. He beat us," added Mercado, who counts Ross as one of his best friends.
Though disappointed at their defeat, Mercado also expressed his pride for Ross, who earned Finals MVP honors once again for SMB.
"He's been amazing. Nothing short of amazing. I'm proud of him," Mercado said of the man that he calls his "brother."
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