MANILA, Philippines -- After getting blown off the court by the NLEX Road Warriors in their previous game, San Miguel Beer showed more tenacity and effort in a must-win affair on Sunday against Barangay Ginebra.
The Beermen were thoroughly outplayed by NLEX when they played on Friday, as they allowed the Road Warriors to make 52% of their field goals while getting hammered on the boards, 62-31. The result was a 124-90 demolition that put San Miguel's quarterfinals bid in peril.
Veteran point guard Chris Ross was thus pleased to see San Miguel put together a much better performance against the Gin Kings on Sunday. They pulled away in the second quarter, survived Ginebra's fightback in the third, and eventually came away with an 81-66 victory.
"We lost by 40 points (against NLEX)," Ross said after the game. "We're motivated, and they're kinda tired."
"We're tired, too, but we knew that the bosses weren't happy with us, the coaches weren't happy with us, and more importantly, we weren't happy with ourselves," he added. "So we just wanted to come out and give a better effort."
Ross, who had a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds, told his teammates before the game that against the Road Warriors, they "showed zero effort."
The Beermen never got going against NLEX, trailing 67-47 at the half and falling behind by as much as 38 points midway through the final frame. Ross and the rest of the SMB veterans -- Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Moala Tautuaa -- wound up playing less than 30 minutes as the game was barely competitive in the second half.
"If we showed effort today, we'll probably come out on top," said Ross. "And everybody that got in the game was a hundred percent and did well."
Ross admits that it helped that Ginebra was also coming off a game, as the Gin Kings played last Friday and beat TNT Tropang Giga, 85-79.
"They knew it was a big game, and they kinda put all their energy into that," he noted.
San Miguel now has a 6-4 win-loss record, joining a logjam in the middle of the league standings along with Meralco, Alaska, and Magnolia. They have one game left on their schedule -- a date with Christian Standhardinger and NorthPort Batang Pier on Tuesday.
A victory there will put the Beermen in the quarterfinals, and keep them in the hunt for a Top 4 finish that carries with it a twice-to-beat advantage.