MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel point guard Chris Ross was disappointed to have been called for a technical foul during a crucial juncture of their PBA Commissioner's Cup game against Barangay Ginebra, but stopped short of saying that it cost the Beermen the victory.
San Miguel trailed by as much as 20 points to a fired-up Ginebra squad on Sunday, but managed to get the deficit down to three points, 90-93, with still over two minutes left to play in the game.
A jumper by Ginebra import Justin Brownlee pushed the lead back to five, and San Miguel committed a turnover in their next possession, allowing Ginebra to push the ball in transition. Brownlee went up for the lay-up, with Ross contesting his attempt. The SMB veteran felt that Brownlee warded him off, but instead Ross was whistled for a foul.
That gave Brownlee two free throws, and an irate Ross pleaded his case to the referees. He was assessed a technical foul, giving Ginebra three points in the possession. San Miguel was unable to threaten again, and the Gin Kings claimed a 107-99 win.
"The ref gave me a technical. All I said was I thought it was an offensive foul, and they gave me a technical and gave him free throws," Ross said after the game. "It was a one possession game at the time, and I felt like we were getting the momentum."
Ross acknowledged that the referees had a difficult job, but he also pointed out that the sequence was a tough one for San Miguel. "Instead of us getting the ball down one possession, they had the ball and they go up two possessions," he said.
"Tough break of the game… I don't think I deserved it (the technical)," he added.
Yet Ross also refused to blame the technical for the loss, which was only SMB's second setback of the conference. He pointed out that even though Ginebra went up 98-90 after Brownlee's free throws and LA Tenorio's technical free throw, there were still two minutes left to play in the game.
"You don't lose the game off one play, and you don't win a game off one play," Ross said. "It's a series of events that happened."
Instead, Ross acknowledged that San Miguel's flat start put them in the bad situation in the first place. Ginebra raced out to a 15-3 lead in the first quarter, and though the Beermen rallied repeatedly, they were never able to get over the hump.
"We didn't come out with the same intensity as they did," Ross admitted.
San Miguel knew that Ginebra would be aggressive at the start, he admitted, as the Gin Kings were coming off a loss, but they simply did not match the intensity of the perennial crowd favorites.
"We didn't match their intensity, and when we did, it was too late," he explained. "You can't expect to play for a quarter, and expect to win against a team like Ginebra which is well-coached and has great plays."
"It's partly my fault, because I didn't have the team ready to play," he added.
Despite the loss, San Miguel can still finish in the Top 2 and earn a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. They will try to bounce back on Saturday, May 27, against the Alaska Aces.
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