Even a gash on the forehead couldn’t stop Chris Ross.
Ross was a mad man on a tear on Wednesday night, powering the San Miguel Beermen past crowd darlings Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 132-94, to acquire a 2-1 lead in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
The 6-foot-1 guard, who was inadvertently hit in the forehead late in the second frame, exploded for 23 points built on seven treys – this, after scoring just a total of four points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first two games of the series.
“Parang hayop na ‘pag nasugatan, tumatapang,” alluded San Miguel head coach Leo Austria of the versatile Ross, who shot 8-of-15 from the field and also collected seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Nine of Ross’s scoring output came in the third chapter, where the Beermen broke away wide by unloading 39 points in the frame to post a 92-72 lead heading into the final canto – a lead which left the Gin Kings gasping for air.
San Miguel would go on to lead by as much as 40, 132-92, after Von Pessumal’s basket in the dying seconds.
‘Well, I’m not expecting this to happen. I think it’s kind of weird, first game tambak kami, second game we have ,eh tambak, and this is another blowout. This is a championship game and we’re expecting a close fight,” said Austria.
“But I have to give credit to my players, I can see that they really want to win,” he added.
Renaldo Balkman top-scored for the defending champs with 28 points on top of 11 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks. Best Player of the Conference candidate June Mar Fajardo provided 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Marcio Lassiter had 12 points and nine assists; rookie Christian Standhardinger had 12 points as well along with eight rebounds; and Alex Cabagnot – Game Two’s hero with 33 markers – chimed in nine points and eight dimes.
Justin Brownlee led the Barangay with 32 points and 11 rebounds. Mark Caguioa was his only support with 12 points and five rebounds.
As per the league’s stats chief Fidel Mangonon, San Miguel have equaled the biggest win margin in PBA Finals history. The first one happened in Game Six of the 1998 All-Filipino Cup, when the Alaska Aces clobbered San Miguel, 99-61.
San Miguel will look to post a 3-1 lead in Game Four on Friday, August 3, 7:00 PM still at the Big Dome.
San Miguel 132 – Balkman 28, Ross 23, Fajardo 22, Lassiter 12, Standhardinger 12, Santos 11, Cabagnot 9, Nabong 6, Pessumal 5, Heruela 4, Lanete 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, de Ocampo 0, Agovida 0, Vigil 0
Ginebra 94 – Brownlee 32, Caguioa 12, Slaughter 9, Devance 7, Mercado 7, Tenorio 5, Chan 5, Mariano 5, Ferrer 5, Aguilar 4, Thompson 3, Cruz 0, Caperal 0, Manuel 0
Quarterscores: 30-27, 53-51, 92-72, 132-94